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New Digital PCR MIQE guidelines will increase research impact and improve diagnostic applications

03 Jun 2013
Tags:  Genomics
3 June 2013 - LGC, the UK’s designated National Measurement Institute (NMI) for chemical and bioanalytical measurement, is leading the way in developing best practice guidelines for the analysis of nucleic acids by Digital PCR (dPCR)*.
                          
The guidelines, known as dMIQE (Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Digital PCR Experiments), will have a significant impact on the reproducibility and accuracy of measurements obtained using this analytical technique.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a technique widely used in molecular biology to identify and quantify DNA. PCR works by targeted amplification of DNA by several orders of magnitude to enable identification and in cases measurement of specific sequences. The applications of PCR are widespread including, for example, diagnosis of pathogens, facilitating DNA sequencing for identification of genetic disorders or the detection of genetically modified food products.

dPCR is an extension of conventional PCR methods that allows for very precise quantification of DNA and absolute, rather than the conventional relative, quantification. dPCR has greater sensitivity for differentiating small differences in DNA levels between samples. This has applications in clinical diagnostics for the identification and quantification of rare genetic mutations. dPCR also has the potential to be more reproducible and less susceptible to experimental interferences than current quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) techniques.

LGC’s Dr Jim Huggett, Science Leader in Nucleic Acid Metrology and co-author of the new dMIQE guidelines, comments: “Adoption of these new dPCR guidelines by the scientific community will help to standardise experimental protocols, maximise efficient utilisation of resources and enhance the impact of this promising new technology for diagnostic applications.”

dPCR has the potential to have a substantial impact on research and routine applications in important areas including medicine, foods and environmental analysis. The publication of these new freely available guidelines is significant as they will increase the confidence in results across a wide range of applications.

Dr Huggett concludes: “Confidence in the accuracy of results is paramount. We need to encourage data comparability and transparency across the scientific community to increase the robustness and reliability of results and to reduce measurement uncertainty.”
 
Dr Huggett will be the keynote speaker at the Cambridge Health Institute conference ‘Digital PCR: Technologies and Tools for Precision Diagnostics’ in San Diego, California, from October 7 – 9, 2013.
 
For more information please visit LGC’s Chemical and Biological Metrology website. To download a free copy of the Digital MIQE guidelines please click here.