Evaluation of massively parallel sequencing for forensic DNA methylation profiling

Epigenetics is an emerging area of interest in forensic science. DNA methylation, a type of epigenetic modification, can be applied to chronological age estimation, identical twin differentiation and body fluid identification. However, there is not yet an agreed, established methodology for targeted detection and analysis of DNA methylation markers in forensic research. Recently, a massively parallel sequencing-based approach has been suggested. The use of massively parallel sequencing is well established in clinical epigenetics and is emerging as a new technology in the forensic field. This review investigates the potential benefits, limitations, and considerations of this technique for the analysis of DNA methylation in a forensic context. The importance of a robust protocol, regardless of the methodology used, which minimizes potential sources of bias is highlighted.