A Blood–Bone–Tooth Model for Age Prediction in Forensic Contexts
Research Centre for Anthropology and Health (CIAS), Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
Centre for Functional Ecology (CEF), Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-370 Coimbra, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ann H. Ross and Andrés Moya
Received: 29 October 2021
Revised: 26 November 2021
Accepted: 7 December 2021
Published: 10 December 2021
DNA methylation age estimation is one of the hottest topics in forensic field nowadays. Age estimation can be improved under a multidisciplinary approach, the role of a forensic anthropologist and forensic epigeneticist being crucial in the establishment of new basis for age estimation. The development of epigenetic models for bones and tooth samples is crucial in this way. Moreover, developing models for age estimation using several samples can be a useful tool in forensics. In this study, we built two multi-tissue models for age estimation, combining blood, bones and tooth samples and using two different methodologies. Through the Sanger sequencing methodology, we built a model with seven age-correlated markers and a mean absolute deviation between predicted and chronological ages of 6.06 years. Using the SNaPshot assay, a model with three markers has been developed revealing a mean absolute deviation between predicted and chronological ages of 6.49 years. Our results showed the usefulness of DNA methylation age estimation in forensic contexts and brought new insights into the development of multi-tissue models applied to blood, bones and teeth. In the future, we expected that these procedures can be applied to the Medico-Legal facilities to use DNA methylation in routine practice for age estimation.