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Int J Legal Med. 2013 Jan;127(1):35-43. doi: 10.1007/s00414-012-0719-1. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

DNA methylation-specific multiplex assays for body fluid identification.

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Department of Forensic Medicine and Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-752, South Korea.


Recent advances in whole-genome epigenetic analysis indicate that chromosome segments called tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (tDMRs) show different DNA methylation profiles according to cell or tissue type. Therefore, body fluid-specific differential DNA methylation is a promising indicator for body fluid identification. However, DNA methylation patterns are susceptible to change in response to environmental factors and aging. Therefore, we investigated age-related methylation changes in semen-specific tDMRs using body fluids from young and elderly men. After confirming the stability of the body fluid-specific DNA methylation profile over time, two different multiplex PCR systems were constructed using methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme PCR and methylation SNaPshot, in order to analyze the methylation status of specific CpG sites from the USP49, DACT1, PRMT2, and PFN3 tDMRs. Both multiplex systems could successfully identify semen with spermatozoa and could differentiate menstrual blood and vaginal fluids from blood and saliva. Although including more markers for body fluid identification might be necessary, this study adds to the support that body fluid identification by DNA methylation profiles could be a valuable tool for forensic analysis of body fluids.

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