Salk scientists find genetic signatures of biological aging | 12/27/2018 | Staff
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Some people appear to be considerably younger or older than their chronological age. Genetic signatures that may help explain this have been discovered by scientists at the Salk Institute.

The age-associated genetic patterns were found by analyzing skin cells from people of various ages, according to a study by Salk Institute scientists.

Researchers - Results - Signs - People - Progeria

Researchers then applied the results to detect genetic signs of accelerated aging in people with progeria, a disease that causes patients to appear far older than their chronological age.

With further research, the machine learning method could be broadened to detect when people are aging faster than their chronological age, said Saket Navlakha, a senior author of the study. This could be used to treat people at risk for age-related conditions, or advise them to change lifestyle habits before diseases occur, he said.

Applications - Years - Navlakha - Researchers - Scientists

Such clinical applications could be ready in as soon as five years, Navlakha said. To help other researchers, the scientists have made the machine learning algorithms and underlying data public.

The study was published Dec. 19 in the journal Genome Biology.

Navlakha - Project - Conversation - Salk - Institute

Navlakha said the project began as a conversation in the Salk Institute courtyard between him and Martin Hetzer, the other senior author.

"Martin said we should talk about some of this new data they are collecting on aging," Navlakha said. "Martin has been working in the aging field for a while, and I'm a computer scientist interested in developing machine learning algorithms to analyze biological data sets."

Brought - Salk - Scientist - Jason - Fleischer

The two brought in another Salk scientist, Jason Fleischer. They set up the project to examine the data without presuppositions about where signs of aging might be found, Navlakha said.

The outcome was a "black box" prediction for age. It found the age-related genetic changes...
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