Uncovering Forensic Evidence: A Path to Age Estimation through DNA Methylation

María Josefina Castagnola, Francisco Medina-Paz, Sara C. Zapico

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Age estimation is a critical aspect of reconstructing a biological profile in forensic sciences. Diverse biochemical processes have been studied in their correlation with age, and the results have driven DNA methylation to the forefront as a promising biomarker. DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification, has been extensively studied in recent years for developing age estimation models in criminalistics and forensic anthropology. Epigenetic clocks, which analyze DNA sites undergoing hypermethylation or hypomethylation as individuals age, have paved the way for improved prediction models. A wide range of biomarkers and methods for DNA methylation analysis have been proposed, achieving different accuracies across samples and cell types. This review extensively explores literature from the past 5 years, showing scientific efforts toward the ultimate goal: applying age prediction models to assist in human identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4917
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume25
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

Keywords

  • age estimation
  • anthropology
  • biomarkers
  • crime scene
  • DNA methylation
  • forensic science

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