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Table 2 Summary of recommendations arising from the challenges of studying DNA methylation clocks in the context of aging

From: DNA methylation aging clocks: challenges and recommendations

Challenges and recommendations
1. Delineation of the chronological and biological components of DNA methylation clocks
• Quantify the accuracy and robustness of “forensic” age estimates from different DNA sources
• Isolate pan-tissue “biological” aging changes for novel insights into aging
2. Functional characterization of tissue-specific and disease-specific clocks
• Refine tissue- and disease-specific clocks for disease-specific measures
• Deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of specific age-related diseases
• All published clock algorithms should be transparent and publicly available
3. Integration of epigenetics into large and diverse longitudinal population studies
• For predictive biomarkers of clinical utility
• Understand the cause and consequences of clock measures and any rate change on aging-related disease and longevity
4. Genome-wide analyses of aging and exploration of additional epigenomic marks
• Identity novel and potentially more sensitive chronological or disease-specific clock-like mechanisms
5. Single-cell analysis of aging changes and disease
• Explore functionality of clock-like and other aging-related epigenetic changes
• Define the components of tissue-specific changes
6. Generation of robust non-human data of aging
• Explore fundamental biology of aging using DNA methylation clocks in model organisms
• Expand and standardize the application of DNA methylation clocks to test longevity interventions in mice
7. Inclusion of epigenetics within current genetic ethical and legal frameworks
• To educate and protect the public from misinformation and misuse