Appeal to All Good Boys and Girls: This week researchers launched a Citizen Science project to attract 10,000 furry friends to better study the aging of dogs and humans , And they ask pet owners in the US to volunteer their puppies to participate.
The Dog Aging Project (DAP) is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Washington and Texas A & M University. By collecting data from a large sample of dogs throughout their lifecycle, scientists could better understand the "biological and environmental factors that influence aging" in both species. While these types of large population studies are routinely conducted with humans the project is considered to be the largest of its kind ever performed with dogs.
"What we learn may be good for dogs and has great translation potential for human health," said Daniel Promislow, project co-director and aging researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine, opposite NBC News.
Potential Civic Scientists ̵
The regular annual visit of your dog to your veterinarian is free, "it says on the FAQ page of the project.
The project is estimated to cost $ 23 million – covered by a federal grant from the National Institute on Aging – and will take approximately five years. After the data has been processed, the researchers have promised to make it publicly available to other scientists.
Approximately 500 owners are invited to join their dogs in further hands-on testing that will test a drug called rapamycin, which has shown promise in extending the life of mice. Some of the researchers have already performed a small safety study on middle-aged dogs which seems to indicate that they can be used without serious side effects. To be cautious, only larger dogs are included in these recent clinical trials.
Regardless of how little or how much you want your dog to be involved the researchers still want you.
"Our dog participants are the heart and soul of the project," it says on the project's website.
And if you are a dog owner outside of the US or have somehow fallen in love with cats instead, there is the similarly themed Darwin's Ark for you.