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DeepMAge: A Methylation Aging Clock Developed with Deep Learning
Fedor Galkin 1 2, Polina Mamoshina 1, Kirill Kochetov 1, Denis Sidorenko 3, Alex Zhavoronkov 1 3 4
DNA methylation aging clocks have become an invaluable tool in biogerontology research since their inception in 2013. Today, a variety of machine learning approaches have been tested for the purpose of predicting human age based on molecular-level features. Among these, deep learning, or neural networks, is an especially promising approach that has been used to construct accurate clocks using blood biochemistry, transcriptomics, and microbiomics data-feats unachieved by other algorithms. In this article, we explore how deep learning performs in a DNA methylation setting and compare it to the current industry standard-the 353 CpG clock published in 2013. The aging clock we are presenting (DeepMAge) is a neural network regressor trained on 4,930 blood DNA methylation profiles from 17 studies. Its absolute median error was 2.77 years in an independent verification set of 1,293 samples from 15 studies. DeepMAge shows biological relevance by assigning a higher predicted age to people with various health-related conditions, such as ovarian cancer, irritable bowel diseases, and multiple sclerosis.