Beatrice Marcante, Arianna Delicati, Martina Onofri, Pamela Tozzo, Luciana Caenazzo

Estimation of Human Chronological Age from Buccal Swab Samples through a DNA Methylation Analysis Approach of a Five-Locus Multiple Regression Model

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

Recent advancements in forensic genetics have facilitated the extraction of additional characteristics from unidentified samples. This study delves into the predictive potential of a five-gene (ELOVL2, FHL2, KLF14, C1orf132, and TRIM59) methylation rate analysis for human age estimation using buccal swabs collected from 60 Italian volunteers. The methylation levels of specific CpG sites in the five genes were analyzed through bisulfite conversion, single-base extension, and capillary electrophoresis. A multivariate linear regression model was crafted on the training set, then the test set was employed to validate the predictive model. The multivariate predictive model revealed a mean absolute deviation of 3.49 years in the test set of our sample. While limitations include a modest sample size, the study provides valuable insights into the potential of buccal swab-based age prediction, aiding in criminal investigations where accurate age determination is crucial. Our results also highlight that it is necessary to investigate the effectiveness of predictive models specific to biological tissues and individual populations, since models already proven effective for other populations or different tissues did not show the same effectiveness in our study.

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