Telomere Length as a Molecular Biomarker for Human Age Prediction: A Quantitative Real-Time PCR Study Among Sample of Egyptians

Document Type : Original Article


1 Forensic Medicine & Clinical Toxicology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Benha University, Egypt.

2 Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Benha University

3 Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Benha University


The fact that telomere shortening occurs with aging leads to the hypothesis that a correlation could be made between telomere length (TL) and suspect age. This study aimed to assess if TL can be used as an investigational tool to predict human age through developing a formula based on this correlation with accuracy suitable to be applied in forensic practice. A quantitative real-time PCR study was carried out on 80 Egyptians, ranging in age from 1- 79 years. The results confirmed that the relative TL significantly shortened with aging; “r” = -0.903 (p < 0.001). The human age could be determined by the following formula: (Y= 66.9-28X), (Y: age in years; X: relative TL), with a regression analysis between relative TL and age had an R2 = 0.815. The standard error of age estimate was ± 10.14 years. The present study concluded that estimation of human age based on the relative TL measured by quantitative real-time PCR may be a useful method for age prediction, especially when there is no morphologic information in the biological samples, but the estimated standard error of age prediction in this study was quite high ( ± 10 years) to be used with certainty in forensic investigations. Inter-individual variations in TL and variability among the gender must be also considered when applying this method. So, this method could only give a rough estimation of age and it may be a complementary method for age estimation from soft tissues.