Applications of physiological bases of ageing to forensic sciences. Estimation of age-at-death

Sara C.Zapico, Douglas H. Ubelaker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Age-at-death estimation is one of the main challenges in forensic sciences since it contributes to the identification of individuals. There are many anthropological techniques to estimate the age at death in children and adults. However, in adults this methodology is less accurate and requires population specific references. For that reason, new methodologies have been developed. Biochemical methods are based on the natural process of ageing, which induces different biochemical changes that lead to alterations in cells and tissues. In this review, we describe different attempts to estimate the age in adults based on these changes. Chemical approaches imply modifications in molecules or accumulation of some products. Molecular biology approaches analyze the modifications in DNA and chromosomes. Although the most accurate technique appears to be aspartic acid racemization, it is important to take into account the other techniques because the forensic context and the human remains available will determine the possibility to apply one or another methodology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-617
Number of pages13
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology


  • Age estimation
  • Ageing
  • Aspartic acid racemization
  • Chemical methods
  • DNA mutations
  • Molecular biology methods


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