PrimerBank: a PCR primer database for quantitative gene expression analysis, 2012 update

Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(Database issue):D1144-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr1013. Epub 2011 Nov 15.


Optimization of primer sequences for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR) and reaction conditions remains an experimental challenge. We have developed a resource, PrimerBank, which contains primers that can be used for PCR and qPCR under stringent and allele-invariant amplification conditions. A distinguishing feature of PrimerBank is the experimental validation of primer pairs covering most known mouse genes. Here, we describe a major update of PrimerBank that includes the design of new primers covering 17,076 and 18,086 genes for the human and mouse species, respectively. As a result of this update, PrimerBank contains 497,156 primers (an increase of 62% from the previous version) that cover 36,928 human and mouse genes, corresponding to around 94% of all known protein-coding gene sequences. An updated algorithm based on our previous approach was used to design new primers using current genomic information available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). PrimerBank primers work under uniform PCR conditions, and can be used for high-throughput or genome-wide qPCR. Because of their broader linear dynamic range and greater sensitivity, qPCR approaches are used to reanalyze changes in expression suggested by exploratory technologies such as microarrays and RNA-Seq. The primers and all experimental validation data can be freely accessed from the PrimerBank website,

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • DNA Primers / chemistry*
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Mice
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA Primers