Digital PCR
Digital PCR

The new absolute in PCR – Digital PCR

The power of digital PCR – finding a needle in a haystack

Digital PCR (dPCR) is a technique where the sample is partitioned into many individual reactions so that either zero, one or more target molecules are present in each reaction. This approach makes it surprisingly easy to detect a single positive against a strong background of negatives, a typical needle in a haystack problem. It is in such instances that the lower limit of detection excludes standard real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) as a viable method.

The defining feature of digital PCR is the absolute quantification of nucleic acids. After partitioning, the reactions undergo end-point PCR cycling, and partitions are analyzed for the presence (positive reaction) or absence (negative reaction) of a fluorescent signal. Based on this information, one can calculate the absolute number of molecules present in the sample. Unlike qPCR, dPCR does not rely on standard curves. Thanks to this, dPCR has a lower detection limit and higher precision than qPCR.

Researchers increasingly use digital PCR for sensitive applications, such as copy number variation analysis, gene expression quantification and rare target detection. The method has helped advance cell and gene therapy research, cancer research, infectious disease surveillance, food testing, and many more.

DNA, binary code
Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to overcome challenges in your digital PCR journey. In the end, finding a needle in a haystack might not remain as challenging as it sounds.
Don’t leave without becoming our dPCR Insider!
Open your inbox to free instant dPCR news.

Realize the full potential of digital PCR

Find the top applications to be covered by our new assays.

Video recorded prior to COVID-19
If your future is digital, why shouldn't your PCR be, too? Imagine keeping the familiarity and ease of qPCR but gaining the higher sensitivity and precision of digital PCR, without prolonging the time to scientific insight. The QIAcuity, QIAGEN's fully integrated nanoplate-based digital PCR system, has been designed with your research needs and the limitations of the currently available methods in mind. It's time to simplify the transition from qPCR and prepare your critical research applications for the changing landscape of digital PCR.

Advantages over droplet digital PCR technology

The nanoplate-based technology offers significant benefits over digital droplet PCR (ddPCR). These include:

• Fixed partitions prevent variation in size and coalescence
• Sealed nanoplates prevent well to well contamination
• Faster readout possible due to simultaneous reading of all partitions of a sample
• User-friendly, familiar plates are easy to pipet just like for qPCR
• Plates are amenable to front-end automation

Read more about dpcr vs ddpcr

Video recorded prior to COVID-19
It is easy to use the QIAcuity
Transition into a simple and rapid digital PCR workflow.
New to dPCR?
If you’re ready to enter the world of dPCR, but don’t know where to start, this educational hub covers key topics designed for beginners.