Twenty-five Years of Quantitative PCR for Gene Expression Analysis

Biotechniques. 2008 Apr;44(5):619-26. doi: 10.2144/000112776.

Abstract

Following its invention 25 years ago, PCR has been adapted for numerous molecular biology applications. Gene expression analysis by reverse-transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) has been a key enabling technology of the post-genome era. Since the founding of BioTechniques, this journal has been a resource for the improvements in qPCR technology, experimental design, and data analysis. qPCR and, more specifically, real-time qPCR has become a routine and robust approach for measuring the expression of genes of interest, validating microarray experiments, and monitoring biomarkers. The use of real-time qPCR has nearly supplanted other approaches (e.g., Northern blotting, RNase protection assays). This review examines the current state of qPCR for gene expression analysis now that the method has reached a mature stage of development and implementation. Specifically, the different fluorescent reporter technologies of real-time qPCR are discussed as well as the selection of endogenous controls. The conceptual framework for data analysis methods is also presented to demystify these analysis techniques. The future of qPCR remains bright as the technology becomes more rapid, cost-effective, easier to use, and capable of higher throughput.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / trends*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / trends*