Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 5275–5280 | Cite as

Differences of DNA methylation profiles between monozygotic twins’ blood samples

  • Chengtao Li
  • Shumin Zhao
  • Na Zhang
  • Suhua Zhang
  • Yiping Hou


Monozygotic twins (MZs) share an identical genomic sequence, which makes it impossible to discriminate one another with conventional genetic markers like STRs. On the other hand, phenotypic discordance between MZs implies the existence of different epigenetic characteristics. DNA methylation, an essential epigenetic modification, however, might be a potential biomarker to solve the forensic puzzle. In this study, we examined 22 pairs of MZs with a methylation BeadChip including 27,578 CpG sites. The results suggested that MZs exhibited remarkable differences of genome-wide 5-methylcytosine. According to a set of criteria of selection, 92 CpG sites with significant differences of methylation status within MZs were identified from the global epigenome. In conclusion, this pilot study suggested that CpG methylation profile could be a useful biomarker in individual identification of MZs.


Forensic genetics Individual identification Monozygotic twins DNA methylation 



We are grateful to all volunteers who provided samples for this study. This study was supported by grants from National Key Technology R&D Program of Ministry of Science and Technology of the People`s Republic of China (2012BAK16B01) and the National Nature Science Foundation, People`s Republic of China (nos. 81222041 and 81172908).

Supplementary material

11033_2013_2627_MOESM1_ESM.doc (38 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chengtao Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shumin Zhao
    • 2
  • Na Zhang
    • 2
  • Suhua Zhang
    • 2
  • Yiping Hou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forensic Genetics,West China School of Basic Science and Forensic MedicineSichuan University (West China University of Medical Sciences)ChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Forensic MedicineInstitute of Forensic Sciences, Ministry of JusticeShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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