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Expressed Alu repeats as a novel, reliable tool for normalization of real-time quantitative RT-PCR data

Manuela Marullo1, Chiara Zuccato1, Caterina Mariotti2, Nayana Lahiri3, Sarah J Tabrizi3, Stefano Di Donato2 and Elena Cattaneo1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacological Sciences and Center for Stem Cell Research, University of Milan, 9 Via Balzaretti, Milan, 20133, Italy

2 Division of Biochemistry and Genetics, National Neurological Institute-IRCCS "Carlo Besta", 11 Via Celoria, Milan, 20133, Italy

3 Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, UCL Institute of Neurology University College London and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK

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Citation and License

Genome Biology 2010, 11:R9  doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-1-r9

Published: 28 January 2010


We describe a novel strategy for mRNA normalization in quantitative real-time PCR that is based on expressed Alu repeat amplification as a measure for the mRNA fraction. We show that expressed Alu repeat amplification is a fast, accurate normalization tool that can be successfully used for quantification of selected mRNA in the human transcriptome. This result is particularly important for clinical diagnosis and biomarker validation studies based on mRNA detection in human blood.