Real-time quantitative PCR allows for a rapid and precise relative quantification of gene transcripts. Real-time PCR has been shown to exceed the sensitivity of northern blots and RNase protection assays and allows for quantitative study of multiple transcripts with high reproducibility which is a major strength of this method. The reproducibility of the results obtained by real-time PCR is another. Moreover, because the chemistry used is standard and the primers and probes are designed to be compatible, there is consistency. The advantage for using the real-time PCR in a clinical setting, however, is the speed by which the test can be performed. The turnaround time for the assay from time of sample collection is approximately 4 to 6 hour. This is important clinically because surveillance testing of transplant patients using this methodology can be performed without alteration in clinic or hospital procedure and within the already established clinical pathways for posttransplant care.
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