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The primary goal of this study was to identify CpG sites in the human genome that are differentially methylated in DNA obtained from chorionic villus sampling (CVS) samples and gestational age-matched maternal blood cell (MBC) samples.We used the HumanMethylation27 DNA Analysis BeadChip to characterize DNA methylation in samples of CVS and MBC. We then selected a subset of differentially methylated CpG sites on chromsome 13 and subjected them to analysis by mass spectrometry using the Epityper platform.We identified 718 tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between MBC and CVS; 563 of these were hypermethylated in MBC and hypomethylated in CVS, whereas 155 sites were hypomethylated in MBC and hypermethylated in CVS. Further analysis of 13 DMRs on chromosome 13 by Epityper confirmed the microarray data and provided us with additional data about the methylation patterns of surrounding CpG sites.Analysis of the resulting data identified a large number of cytosine-guanine dinucleotides that are potential biomarkers for the selective amplification of fetal DNA from maternal plasma and the subsequent noninvasive detection of trisomy 13. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.