When it comes to DNA research, scientists often find themselves weighing digital PCR (dPCR) against the more established quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Which technique is better to use? The answer is both.
During the last 30 years exceedingly sensitive and accurate technologies have been developed to measure and quantify amounts of nucleic acids and proteins. With techniques such as quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and nextgeneration sequencing (NGS) DNA, messenger RNAs (mRNA), micro RNAs (miRNA), long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) and today even proteins can be measured in most types of samples allowing the comparison of environmental conditions, studies of diseases and monitoring of treatments.
Although it is still early days in terms of our understanding of epigenetics, the fast development of new tools and technologies to define genome-wide epigenetic variations in humans has the potential to enable effective new epigenetic therapies and diagnostic tests for a wide range of diseases beyond and including cancer.
Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) has during the last two decades emerged as the preferred technology for nucleic acid analysis in routine as well as in research. qPCR has the sensitivity to detect a single molecule, the specificity to differentiate targets by a single nucleotide, and, because of its exponential nature, virtually unlimited dynamic range1.