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UCLA Licenses Methylation-Based 'Clock' to Zymo Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Zymo Research announced it has obtained an exclusive licensing agreement for a methylation-based molecular "clock" from the University of California, Los Angeles.

That Horvath Clock, named for its developer and UCLA researcher Steve Horvath, measures methylation based on 353 CpG dinucleotide markers to estimate one dimension of cellular aging. This so-called "DNA methylation age" (DNAm age) is separate from mitotic age and is not a marker of cellular senescence.

Methylation age, as defined by Horvath in a paper published in 2013 in Genome Biology, uses the 353 methylation markers in a calibrated penalized regression model of chronological age. To train the model, Horvath used Illumina DNA methylation array datasets from more than 50 tissue types.

In a statement, Zymo said the clock allows researchers to compare the DNAm age of any tissue to its chronological age and has academic, forensic, and consumer applications.

"The Horvath Clock is an important part of Zymo Research's aging program," the company's VP of global marketing Graham Threadgill said in a statement. "We plan to commercialize products in the future based on the epigenetic clock and other related markers."

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

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