Comparison of DNA methylation clocks in Black South African men

H. Toinét Cronjé*, Cornelie Nienaber-Rousseau, Josine L Min, Fiona Green, Hannah R Elliott, Marlien Pieters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)


Aims: DNA methylation (DNAm) clocks are widely used to estimate biological age, although limited data are available on non-European ethnicities. Here, we characterize the behavior of five DNAm clocks in 120 older Black South African men.

Methods: We investigate the accuracy in age estimation by the Horvath, Hannum and skin and blood clocks and the relative age-related mortality risk and predicted time to death portrayed by the PhenoAge and GrimAge estimators, respectively.

Results: We confirm the tendency of DNAm clocks to underestimate the biological age of older individuals. GrimAge more accurately characterized biological decline compared to the PhenoAge in this cohort, owing to the unique inclusion of smoking-related damage in the GrimAge estimate.

Conclusion: Each clock provides a different fraction of information regarding the aging body. It is essential to continue studying under-represented population groups to ensure methylation-derived indicators are robust and useful in all populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-449
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2021


  • biological
  • GrimAge
  • PhenoAge
  • phenotypic age
  • smoking


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