Predicting a Person's Age From a Drop of Blood
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A drop of blood at a crime scene can provide a rough estimate of a person's age, helping forensic investigators to draw physical profiles of suspects and victims who leave few other traces behind. In a paper published in Current Biology, researchers based in the Netherlands report that a genetic signature of a person's age, to within a decade or so, can be detected in a type of white blood cell known as a T cell. Prof. Manfred Kayser, a geneticist at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and a co-author on the paper explains that his team's technique would be used to identify suspects during investigations, not to convict them. "This will never be a tool that ends up in front of a court," he says.

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