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Forensic Age Test

July 19, 2011

A new test uses DNA to reveal a person’s age.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Using DNA to reveal age…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

DNA samples from a crime scene can only tell investigators so much – the sex of the person and if the samples match DNA profiles already on file. But now, scientists have found a way to tell a person’s age from their DNA. Molecular geneticist Sven Bocklandt, now at the company Bioline, worked on the study while at UCLA. He and his colleagues analyzed small chemical changes in DNA that happen over time. Bocklandt says humans have about 3 billion spots where these changes can occur.

SVEN BOCKLANDT (Bioline/UCLA):

Of these 3 billion, we had to measure just two to make this accurate prediction of someone’s age. So that was way, way, way more precise than I ever expected.

HIRSHON:

With this method, they can pinpoint a person’s age to within five years, making it a potential tool for forensics or personalized medicine. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.