Test can tell suspect’s age from blood drop

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LONDON - A crime-busting test that can reveal the age of a suspect from a drop of blood has been devised by scientists.

Detectives using the test can narrow someone’s age to within nine years using tell-tale markers in their DNA.

The profiling technique even works on dried bloodstain and could shed light on unsolved ‘cold cases’ dating back to decades, according to the journal Current Biology.

The breakthrough brings closer the day when forensic investigators can piece together identikit pictures of suspects - including their build and colour of the eyes, hair and skin, from a tiny speck of blood, skin or saliva left at a crime scene, reports the Daily Mail.

The new profiling method has been devised by Dutch scientists who say it could be put to “immediate practical use”.

Manfred Kayser of the Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland, said: “We have demonstrated that human age can be estimated from blood with reasonable accuracy using a simple, robust, and sensitive test assay.

“Our method is applicable in situations where only bloodstains are available, which covers a large proportion of crime cases.”

The test will be invaluable to crime scene investigators who currently need teeth or bones to work out the age of a suspected crime victim.

Previous attempts to come up with an age DNA test have had limited success, said Kayser.

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