Characterization of DNA methylation-based markers for human body fluid identification in forensics: a critical review

  • Farzeen Kader
  • Meenu GhaiEmail author
  • Ademola O. Olaniran


Body fluid identification in crime scene investigations aids in reconstruction of crime scenes. Several studies have identified and reported differentially methylated sites (DMSs) and regions (DMRs) which differ between forensically relevant tissues (tDMRs) and body fluids. Diverse factors affect methylation patterns such as the environment, diets, lifestyle, disease, ethnicity, genetic variation, amongst others. Thus, it is important to analyse the stability of markers employed for forensic identification. Furthermore, even though epigenetic modifications are described as stable and heritable, epigenetic inheritance of potential markers for body fluid identification needs to be assessed in the long term. Here, we discuss the current status of reported DNA methylation-based markers and their verification studies. Such thorough investigation is crucial to develop a stable panel of DNA methylation-based markers for accurate body fluid identification.


DNA methylation Forensic science Body fluid identification Mutations Genetic variation Heritability 


Funding information

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

414_2019_2181_MOESM1_ESM.docx (35 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 35 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Genetics, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and ScienceUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville Campus)DurbanRepublic of South Africa
  2. 2.Discipline of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and ScienceUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville Campus)DurbanRepublic of South Africa

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