Sidebar: Guidelines for qPCR Consistency
The exceptional success and widespread use of qPCR has led to a prodigious number of publications (~18,000 in 2008). Despite its popularity, the technology lacks a consensus on how best to perform and interpret results. A consortium of experts in the field recently provided new guidelines to help deal with this challenge.
The MIQE Guidelines provide the minimum information for publication of quantitative real-time PCR experiments. They cover a host of recommendations such as the need to provide assay details about reagent components, oligonucleotide sequences, assay sensitivity, and efficiency.
According to co-author Tania Nolan, Ph.D., global manager, technical and application support team, Sigma-Aldrich, “Over time scientists have adopted many different protocols and these differences lead to variations in data. It is impossible to interpret scientific findings unless the relevant methods have been clearly explained. The guidelines are directed to anyone performing qPCR and also to those editing peer-reviewed articles where qPCR data is included. In addition, the guidelines have been sent to journal editors and are being adopted by journals.”
Although they are voluntary, the response has been positive, reports Dr. Nolan. “Journals are considering how they can implement them, and companies are responding by addressing how they can enable scientists to include the required information. Most scientists welcome this greater transparency of scientific reports.”