New technology predicts a criminal's age

With the amazing and rapid advances in the science of criminology, it's getting much harder to get away with a major crime.  Just in the past few months, a system was introduced for telling the age of a fingerprint helping crime scene investigators know which prints were from the crime scene, and which pre-date it, saving investigators valuable time in following clues.  Other techniques introduced over the last few months include:
And this is just the tip of the technical ice berg.

With this new technology out of Belgium, investigators can more accurately predict the age of a person who leaves blood evidence behind, limiting the number of suspects to pursue.  And the improved ability to determine how old a person whose remains are found, narrows the search for a victims identity.

It's like Sherlock Holmes on steroids.

Here's the report with a link to the original in the attribution:
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Blood, teeth samples accurately predict a criminal's age

Forensic biomedical scientists from KU Leuven, Belgium, have developed a test to predict individuals' age on the basis of blood or teeth samples. This test may be particularly useful for the police, as it can help track down criminals or identify human remains.

When forensic examiners find traces of blood at a crime scene, they can try to identify the perpetrator on the basis of DNA. From now on, the blood samples can also be used to predict the criminal's age. This is also the case for deceased individuals: when traditional methods do not lead to identification, the forensic examiners can use blood or teeth samples for age estimation.

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Human tissues and organs change as we grow older. This aging process is regulated by our DNA. The KU Leuven researchers are the first to have successfully used this aging process, embedded in our DNA, to predict individuals' age with great accuracy.

Professor Bram Bekaert from the KU Leuven Forensic Biomedical Sciences Unit explains: "The behavior of our organs and tissues depends on which of our genes are activated. As we grow older, some genes are switched on, while others are switched off. This process is partly regulated by methylation, whereby methyl groups are added to our DNA. In specific locations, genes with high methylation levels are deactivated."

Bekaert and his colleagues were able to predict individuals' age on the basis of a set of four age-associated DNA methylation markers. The methylation levels of these markers can be used for highly accurate age predictions. The researchers were able to determine individuals' age with a margin of error of 3.75 years for blood samples and 4.86 years for teeth.

The new technique is potentially useful in the context of police investigations because it can help determine the age of criminals or unidentified bodies, which in turn can lead to identification.

Related stories:

Story Source:  Materials provided by KU Leuven.  Bram Bekaert, Aubeline Kamalandua, Sara C Zapico, Wim Van de Voorde, Ronny Decorte. Improved age determination of blood and teeth samples using a selected set of DNA methylation markers. Epigenetics, 2015

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