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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(2):e10. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr775. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Enhanced analysis of real-time PCR data by using a variable efficiency model: FPK-PCR.

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Platform for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Scientific Institute of Public Health, J. Wytsmanstreet 14, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


Current methodology in real-time Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis performs well provided PCR efficiency remains constant over reactions. Yet, small changes in efficiency can lead to large quantification errors. Particularly in biological samples, the possible presence of inhibitors forms a challenge. We present a new approach to single reaction efficiency calculation, called Full Process Kinetics-PCR (FPK-PCR). It combines a kinetically more realistic model with flexible adaptation to the full range of data. By reconstructing the entire chain of cycle efficiencies, rather than restricting the focus on a 'window of application', one extracts additional information and loses a level of arbitrariness. The maximal efficiency estimates returned by the model are comparable in accuracy and precision to both the golden standard of serial dilution and other single reaction efficiency methods. The cycle-to-cycle changes in efficiency, as described by the FPK-PCR procedure, stay considerably closer to the data than those from other S-shaped models. The assessment of individual cycle efficiencies returns more information than other single efficiency methods. It allows in-depth interpretation of real-time PCR data and reconstruction of the fluorescence data, providing quality control. Finally, by implementing a global efficiency model, reproducibility is improved as the selection of a window of application is avoided.

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