Understanding Genetics: Does Your DNA Change Over Time?

Aging is a natural process that also brings up a lot of related health concerns, but is DNA one of the affected elements in the body over time? 

What Happens to your DNA as you age?

The study

Researchers from Iceland and the US discovered the truth of DNA change in aging through the study titled “Intra-individual Change Over Time in DNA Methylation With Familial Clustering”. According to this study, as we get older, our DNA changes a lot. 

Methylation and Aging

Results show that over a period of 10-16 years, some people's DNA changed as much as 20%. However, these differences aren't in the famous A, T, C, and G's of DNA. Instead, they are changes in DNA methylation.

Methylation is a process that occurs by the addition of a methyl (CH3) group to DNA, thereby often modifying the function of the genes and affecting gene expression. This process is key to the explanation as to why we experience vulnerability to more diseases as we get older. In a study by Zen Jin and Yun Liu, results showed that changes in methylation also play an important role in the development and progression of many common diseases, and has been linked to diseases like cancer and autoimmune disorders. This also opens the possibility that in some cases, people might inherit an increased risk for these diseases.

The distinction 

While there is truth in researches, one must be aware of the distinct difference between what specific elements change in our DNA. The raw stuff in our genes, the letters that were mentioned earlier - mostly composed of A, G, C, and T change, but not much over time and happens occasionally. It is a matter of methylation that can cause a lot of changes in the DNA of any cell.

Why is it important to know?

DNA makes us who we are. These are the genetic materials that work on how we look and how our bodies function. If we are aware of how it works, we will be able to know which should we focus on when it comes to improving our health. The changes in our DNA and in methylation have been linked to how diseases develop in the aging phase, which is another important detail for experts to work on. 

Tracking your biological health with epigenetics

Another study suggests that the environment we live in is one of the factors that play a role in affecting how our DNA changes over time. It also suggests that as we age, our DNA methylation pattern changes. 

Epigenetics is the study of molecular information that controls how our DNA code is read (gene expression) without changing the DNA underlying sequence. The ability to understand what causes the changes in your health via genetics enables you to find treatments and more importantly, prevention of further health decline, especially when it comes to aging. 

Our Healthspan gives you accurate tracking of your current and future health status and tells you how well you are aging using cutting edge technology in the science of epigenetics. It also uses next-generation sequencing  (NGS) a technology that goes beyond biological systems in a greater capacity than ever before, which makes it the most advanced epigenetics testing in the world.