ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Age assay for forensics toolkit

A test that tracks declines in T cell byproducts can estimate a person's age from a blood sample, and may someday help identify victims or perpetrators of crimes

Janelle Weaver
A smudge of blood at a crime scene may provide enough evidence for investigators to determine the age of criminals or victims, thanks to a new procedure that analyzes the age-related loss of specific DNA molecules in immune cells.
Blood droplets

The approach is more reliable than other genetic analyses and does not involve the destruction of evidence, forensic molecular biologist linkurl:Manfred Kayser,;http://www.erasmusmc.nl/fmb/?lang=en whose study was published online today (22 November) in Current Biology, told The Scientist.T cells must develop different types of surface receptors so that they can recognize and respond to a wide range of foreign pathogens. Inside the thymus, gene segments encoding T-cell receptors rearrange to produce distinct receptors, and as a byproduct, some deleted DNA sequences form circular fragments inside the cell called signal joint TCR excision circles (sjTRECs). As the function of the thymus declines with age, so does the number of sjTRECs. Taking...
The Scientist.



Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT