Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Molecular Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Relative transcript quantification by Quantitative PCR: Roughly right or precisely wrong?

Rasmus Skern*, Petter Frost and Frank Nilsen

Author Affiliations

Marine Genome Biology, Institute of Marine Research, N-5817 Bergen, Norway

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Molecular Biology 2005, 6:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-6-10

Published: 26 April 2005

Abstract

Background

When estimating relative transcript abundances by quantitative real-time PCR (Q-PCR) we found that the results can vary dramatically depending on the method chosen for data analysis.

Results

Analyses of Q-PCR results from a salmon louse starvation experiment show that, even with apparently good raw data, different analytical approaches [1,2] may lead to opposing biological conclusions.

Conclusion

The results emphasise the importance of being cautious when analysing Q-PCR data and indicate that uncritical routine application of an analytical method will eventually result in incorrect conclusions. We do not know the extent of, or have a universal solution to this problem. However, we strongly recommend caution when analysing Q-PCR results e.g. by using two or more analytical approaches to validate conclusions. In our view a common effort should be made to standardise methods for analysis and validation of Q-PCR results.