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Methods. 2010 Apr;50(4):217-26. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.12.006. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

Why the need for qPCR publication guidelines?--The case for MIQE.

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  • 1Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK.


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has matured from a labour- and time-intensive, low throughput qualitative gel-based technique to an easily automated, rapid, high throughput quantitative technology. Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) has become the benchmark technology for the detection and quantification of nucleic acids in a research, diagnostic, forensic and biotechnology setting. However, ill-assorted pre-assay conditions, poor assay design and inappropriate data analysis methodologies have resulted in the recurrent publication of data that are at best inconsistent and at worst irrelevant and even misleading. Furthermore, there is a lamentable lack of transparency of reporting, with the "Materials and Methods" sections of many publications, especially those with high impact factors, not fit for the purpose of evaluating the quality of any reported qPCR data. This poses a challenge to the integrity of the scientific literature, with serious consequences not just for basic research, but potentially calamitous implications for drug development and disease monitoring. These issues are being addressed by a set of guidelines that propose a minimum standard for the provision of information for qPCR experiments ("MIQE"). MIQE aims to restructure to-day's free-for-all qPCR methods into a more consistent format that will encourage detailed auditing of experimental detail, data analysis and reporting principles. General implementation of these guidelines is an important requisite for the maturing of qPCR into a robust, accurate and reliable nucleic acid quantification technology.

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