Assessing the viability of low-pass whole genome bisulfite-sequencing for epigenetic age prediction

We all know someone who looks or functions like someone who is much younger than their actual age (or vice versa). Why is this? Whether our bodies age faster or slower than expected can be explained by lifestyle choices (e.g. adopting a healthy or unhealthy diet), environmental exposures (e.g. stress or exposure to pollution or cigarette smoke), and genetic factors. These factors influence our so-called, “biological age”, which is the age that our body physically or functionally represents. Biological age can be determined through a lab test for reversible chemical modifications to our genes, known as “methylation markers”. Traditionally, only a small subset of the known methylation markers are used for biological age estimation. Imagine these methylation markers as pixels on an old cathode ray tube (CRT) television. The picture is discernible but not perfect. A newer technology has emerged, analogous to a high-resolution 4K television, known as whole-genome bisulfite sequencing. We propose to test this high-resolution technology for biological age prediction.

Faculty Supervisor:

Andrew McArthur


Michael Chong




Biochemistry / Molecular biology


Professional, scientific and technical services


McMaster University



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