Research Article| Volume 24, P75-82, September 2016

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DNA methylation profiling for a confirmatory test for blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluid and menstrual blood


      • We selected 15 CpGs as menstrual blood-specific marker candidates using HumanMethylation450 BeadChip array data.
      • cg09696411 and cg18069290 in the SLC26A10 gene demonstrated high menstrual blood-specificity.
      • A previously reported multiplex methylation SNaPshot was modified to detect 9 CpGs, which include cg09696411 and cg18069290.
      • The resultant multiplex allowed positive identification of blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluid and menstrual blood.
      • Menstrual bloods produced methylation profiles that vary with menstrual cycle and sample collection methods.


      The ability to predict the type of tissues or cells from molecular profiles of crime scene samples has important practical implications in forensics. A previously reported multiplex assay using DNA methylation markers could only discriminate between 4 types of body fluids: blood, saliva, semen, and the body fluid which originates from female reproductive organ. In the present study, we selected 15 menstrual blood-specific CpG marker candidates based on analysis of 12 genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of vaginal fluid and menstrual blood. The menstrual blood-specificity of the candidate markers was confirmed by comparison with HumanMethylation450 BeadChip array data obtained for 58 samples including 12 blood, 12 saliva, 12 semen, 3 vaginal fluid, and 19 skin epidermis samples. Among 15 CpG marker candidates, 3 were located in the promoter region of the SLC26A10 gene, and 2 of them (cg09696411 and cg18069290) showed high menstrual blood specificity. DNA methylation at the 2 CpG markers was further tested by targeted bisulfite sequencing of 461 additional samples including 49 blood, 52 saliva, 34 semen, 125 vaginal fluid, and 201 menstrual blood. Because the 2 markers showed menstrual blood-specific methylation patterns, we modified our previous multiplex methylation SNaPshot reaction to include these 2 markers. In addition, a blood marker cg01543184 with cross reactivity to semen was replaced with cg08792630, and a semen-specific unmethylation marker cg17621389 was removed. The resultant multiplex methylation SNaPshot allowed positive identification of blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluid and menstrual blood using the 9 CpG markers which show a methylation signal only in the target body fluids. Because of the complexity in cell composition, menstrual bloods produced DNA methylation profiles that vary with menstrual cycle and sample collection methods, which are expected to provide more insight into forensic menstrual blood test. Moreover, because the developed multiplex methylation SNaPshot reaction includes the 4 CpG markers of which specificities have been confirmed by multiple studies, it will facilitate confirmatory tests for body fluids that are frequently observed in forensic casework.


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