The evolution of methodology in biochemical age estimation

Sara C. Zapico, Rebecca Stone-Gordon, Joe Adserias-Garriga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The identification of human remains is a vital part of a criminal investigation. Identification requires the creation of a biological profile, which is composed of sex, ancestry, stature, and age. Age is one of the key components. However, age-at-death estimation is one of the main challenges in forensic anthropology. In children and subadults, this estimation can be quite precise. In adults, it may be less precise due to endogenous and exogenous factors, such as pathological conditions and fragmentary remains. For this reason, new methodologies are required. Recent trends in identification include using techniques based on the natural process of aging, and thus, known aging markers. These methodologies are divided into chemical and molecular biology approaches. Aspartic acid racemization is currently the most accurate technique, although epigenetics is becoming more precise and growing popularity in forensics. However, the forensic context and the condition of the human remains available will determine which methodology is possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAge Estimation
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128144923
ISBN (Print)9780128144916
StatePublished - Apr 12 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Adults
  • Advanced glycation end products
  • Age-at-death
  • Anthropological methodologies
  • Aspartic acid racemization
  • Biochemical methodologies
  • Epigenetics
  • MtDNA
  • Subadults
  • Telomere shortening


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