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DNA standards for food, environment and health

The National Measurement Institute produces genetic reference standards for health, food and environmental applications.

Our standards are:

  • accurate, with amount traceable to the International System of Units (SI) through the mole or the counting unit 1
  • reproducible
  • internationally accepted
  • custom designed
  • solution or pre-dispensed into wells of a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) plate
  • cost effective

Applications include method validation, calibration curves or limit of detection for:

  • environmental pathogens in drinking water
  • gene doping in sport
  • cancer diagnostics
  • animal species in feeds and foods
  • genetically modified organisms in food and agriculture

Our genetic standards capability

We use our expertise to provide customised client services:

  • We’re one of few measurement institutes with the capability to compare digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) and isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) measurements of DNA reference materials when traceability to the SI mole is needed for ultimate accuracy.
  • For medical applications, our DNA reference materials enable you to compare diagnostic measurements on different patients, across different national and international treatment centres, over many year timeframes.
  • We have unique capability in:
    • designing DNA assays that are fit for purpose and cost-effective
    • evaluating potential biases in DNA measurements so we get the correct result
    • measuring methylated DNA targets
  • We have demonstrated capability through our participation in international proficiency studies to quantify DNA in concentration values or ratios that are traceable to the SI.

Measurement services

We provide the following measurement services for medically significant DNA biomarkers:

  • support to translate research into new diagnostic products
  • reference standards with clinically relevant quantified levels of biomarkers for use as calibrants or quality control materials
  • validated high-accuracy reference methods for biomarkers using the counting technique, dPCR
  • support to develop and validate DNA extraction methods from body fluids with established extraction recovery

DNA characterising techniques

We have world-class expertise in developing quantitative methods for characterising DNA using these techniques:

  • dPCR
  • quantitative real-time (qPCR) 
  • IDMS
  • accurate molecular weight measurement for double stranded DNA <190 base pairs
  • high pressure liquid chromatography
  • capillary electrophoresis
  • massive parallel sequencing

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Last updated: 15 June 2021

Content ID: 64525