Pisarek,A.; Pospiech,E.; Heidegger,A.; Xavier,C.; Papiez,A.; Piniewska-Rog,D.; Kalamara,V.; Potabattula,R.; Bochenek,M.; Sikora-Polaczek,M.; Macur,A.; Wozniak,A.; Janeczko,J.; Phillips,C.; Haaf,T.; Polanska,J.; Parson,W.; Kayser,M.; Branicki,W.;
DNA methylation analysis is becoming increasingly useful in biomedical research and forensic practice. The discovery of differentially methylated sites (DMSs) that continuously change over an individual’s lifetime has led to breakthroughs in molecular age estimation. Although semen samples are often used in forensic DNA analysis, previous epigenetic age prediction studies mainly focused on somatic cell types. Here, Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip arrays were applied to semen-derived DNA samples, which identified numerous novel DMSs moderately correlated with age. Validation of the ten most age-correlated novel DMSs and three previously known sites in an independent set of semen-derived DNA samples using targeted bisulfite massively parallel sequencing, confirmed age-correlation for nine new and three previously known markers. Prediction modelling revealed the best model for semen, based on 6 CpGs from newly identified genes SH2B2, EXOC3, IFITM2, and GALR2 as well as the previously known FOLH1B gene, which predict age with a mean absolute error of 5.1 years in an independent test set. Further increases in the accuracy of age prediction from semen DNA will require technological progress to allow sensitive, simultaneous analysis of a much larger number of age correlated DMSs from the compromised DNA typical of forensic semen stains.
Aging (Albany NY) 2021 13:19145-19164