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Assessment of DNA methylation markers for forensic applications.


DNA methylation displays promise in a variety of forensic applications, including chronological age estimation and identical twin differentiation. Knowledge of the age of a body fluid donor would offer intelligence information, as well as provide context to physical characteristic markers. Differentiation of identical twins would also be of considerable benefit as the DNA profile of identical twins cannot be distinguished when a correspondence between DNA profiles recovered from crime scene samples and a person is identified. Our research investigates and develops a methodology for DNA methylation analysis that could be implemented into forensic casework. Our results show that the differentiation of identical twins and chronological age prediction are both possible, with similar accuracies to other international research. Targeted multiplexing of bisulphite converted DNA in combination with massively parallel sequencing is demonstrated as a viable alternative to traditional methylation analysis techniques.

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