The CSIRO Stopwatch: A Pan-Animal Epigenetic Clock

CSIRO and University of Western Australia developed a method to estimate lifespans which will now be developed for all animals. Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Age data of animal populations is invaluable for ecological management, particularly for sustainable fishing. A well-known example is orange roughy, which was overfished in part because it was not known that the species is very long lived and slow to mature.

Accurately measuring ageing and lifespan in animal species remains challenging. CSIRO and University of Western Australia researchers have announced a lifespan clock using epigenetics, but this is limited to vertebrate species and requires a full genome sequence for each species. Our project will fill this scientific gap by calibrating an accurate, pan-animal (“universal”) epigenetic clock that can be assayed quickly and inexpensively, resulting in a product with high appeal to a large market across fisheries and vertebrate conservation. In humans, we aim to obtain a cheaper clock, which may contribute to cost-effective preventative healthcare in ageing human populations.

Lead: Yi Jin Liew
Collaborators: Health & Biosecurity, Probing Biosystems FSP