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International Scientists Secure Quality in Molecular Diagnostics
Date:3/31/2009

Consensus Guideline Reached For Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction

SALT LAKE CITY, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- ARUP Laboratories and the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) announced today that a consensus guideline for a key laboratory method called qPCR (or quantitative polymerase chain reaction) was published by a group of international scientists representing the medical and research fields.

qPCR is extensively used in diagnostic testing, from pathogen detection to cancer prognosis, and new studies using qPCR are published at an ever-increasing rate. The consensus guideline, the first of its kind for this technique, provides a minimum set of information that researchers must provide in order for their qPCR data to be considered for publication. The goal is to increase the transparency and quality of studies, so that experiments using qPCR can be accurately reproduced by others, and the scientific community can assess the quality and validity of those studies more readily.

Authors of this guideline, including Professor Stephen A. Bustin at the Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Queen Mary, University of London, recognized that there was a widespread problem in how qPCR data were reported and interpreted. "The majority of published qPCR studies do not provide sufficient experimental detail, and scientists reading them have a hard time deciding if the conclusions are valid. For instance, this has contributed to the erroneous reporting of the association between child MMR vaccination and autism," said Dr. Bustin. When analyzed correctly, the results proved to be due to poorly implemented experimental technique. Another example is a study on plant genetics that was published in the journal Science as the "breakthrough of the year" in 2005. Two years later, this study
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