The Dog Aging Project set out in 2018 to become the largest research data-gathering program of its kind. The project is enrolling and studying tens of thousands of dogs from all backgrounds for a long-term effort to better understand canine aging. The goal is to learn what contributes to a long and healthy life for a dog.
The researchers have detailed the methodology of their project in an article published Feb. 2 in Nature.
The paper tells how, following their project launch, researchers at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the University of Washington School of Medicine, and a dozen other partner institutions began to enroll companion dogs. The project expects to run for at least 10 years. To date, more than 32,000 dogs have been enrolled.
The Nature paper describes the potential implications of the Dog Aging Project on both human and veterinary medicine.
Because the project is an open data study, scientists around the world will have access to the massive amount of data generated. Researchers from many different fields will have the opportunity to contribute to the study in a variety of ways, based on their interests.
“Given that dogs share the human environment and have a sophisticated health care system but are much shorter-lived than people, they offer a unique opportunity to identify the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors associated with healthy lifespan,” said Dr. Daniel Promislow, principal investigator for the National Institute on Aging grant that funds the project. He is a professor of biology at the UW College of Arts and Sciences and of laboratory medicine and pathology at the UW School of Medicine.