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Age prediction by methylation analysis of small amounts of DNA using locked nucleic acids


Age prediction based on methylation analysis has been reported in many populations, with 10 ng or more of DNA usually required for each determination. In this study, we designed thermostable locked nucleic acid (LNA) primers by replacing a small number of DNA bases in standard DNA primers with LNAs. We evaluated these primer sets by single-base extension analysis using 10, 5, or 2 ng of DNA that would be less than template DNA used in standard methylation testing, and determined sensitivity and accuracy. We analyzed EDARADD, SST, and KLF14 genes, targeting one CpG site in each gene. Melting temperature values of most LNA primers were 4°C higher than those of DNA primers. The intensities of signals from the EDARADD and SST genes were significantly improved by the LNA primers, by 3.3 times and 1.4 times, respectively, compared with the DNA primers using 2 ng of DNA. Coefficient of variation (CV) analysis was used to assess the accuracy of the determined methylation levels. CVs were increased using small amounts of DNA, but lower CVs were detected using LNA primers. We also showed high accuracy of age prediction for 51 individuals using LNA primers. The lowest mean absolute deviation was obtained using 10 ng of DNA and was 3.88 years with the LNA primers. Thermostable PCR primers were simply designed, and the LNAs improved the sensitivity and accuracy of methylation analysis for 10 ng or less of DNA.


Keywords:

DNA methylation; accuracy; age prediction; locked nucleic acid; sensitivity; single-base extension; small amount of DNA.



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