Dog Aging Project
Studies in a variety of model organisms demonstrate that genetic and environmental factors impact aging through evolutionarily conserved pathways. However, there is a gap in our knowledge regarding the extent to which these factors explain variation in healthy aging across natural populations. Human studies of long-lived individuals have illuminated genetic and environmental factors that are associated with longevity, but we still do not fully understand the mechanisms underlying healthy aging. Companion dogs may help us better understand aging in humans because they share the same environment as their owners. Dogs exhibit tremendous variation in their size, lifespans, behaviors, and causes of death, but ultimately share a similar disease burden to humans.
The National Institute on Aging and the Division of Aging Biology currently provide support for the Dog Aging Project, which is a nationwide, long-term longitudinal study of aging in tens of thousands of companion dogs. The Dog Aging Project aims to better define aging in dogs, uncover genetic and environmental factors that influence aging, and test interventions that may positively impact lifespan and healthspan in companion dogs. Data and information gathered through this project will help to generate new ideas and hypotheses about the biology of aging in humans.
To learn more about the Dog Aging Project and how to take part in this unique research opportunity, please see the Dog Aging Project website.