Digital PCR (dPCR) is a refinement of conventional PCR method which is primarily used to directly quantify and clonally amplify nucleic acids. The key difference between the dPCR and traditional PCR lies in the method or technique the nucleic acid amount is measured. PCR carries out one reaction per single sample whereas dPCR separates the samples into large number of partitions and then performs the reaction in each of the partitions individually. Among researchers dPCR method is found to be effective alternative for studying variations in gene sequences such as point mutation, copy number variants, and it is widely used in clonal amplification of samples for next-generation sequencing. In dPCR each partition with a positive reaction is considered or designated as 1 and one with no reaction is denoted as 0. After PCR amplification, nucleic acids may be quantified by counting the regions that contain positive PCR end-product or 1. The prominent application of dPCR method includes absolute quantification of viral load, quantification of nucleic acid standards, rare allele detection with respect to genetic disorders and effective separation of mixtures which makes them effective and demanding as compared to normal PCR or qPCR (real time PCR) devices.
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The problem with qPCR-based approaches is that the probe or primer can sometimes pick up the wild type sequence along with the desired target thus cannot typically detect sequences below about 5% abundance. dPCR on the other hand dilutes the entire DNA so that the ratio of wild type to mutant becomes much lower and can be easily detected later on. Major drivers to the global dPCR market encompasses complete exclusion of relying on reference or standard solutions, high tolerance to inhibitors, capability to analyze complex mixtures and unlike traditional PCR digital PCR provides a linear response to the number of copies present to allow for small fold change differences to be detected. With the growing demand for promising surveillance tool for illnesses such as cancer and genetic disorders the acceptance of dPCR will grow effectively in upcoming years.
With such a precise and accuracy dPCR can also be a valuable tool in detecting high sensitivity viral detections. Consumables in the digital PCR include reagents, master mix kits and PCR vials. Individually these three consumables posses a considerable le amount of market share in the global dPCR market. High cost associated with installation of device is the only restraints to the uptake of devices globally but with the time as the technology obsoletes the cost will also decline.
Geographically DPCR instrumentation and consumables market are dominated by developed and economically forward regions such as the United States and countries within Europe. Owing to large number of grants allocated by European Research Council and National Cancer Institute (U.S.) intensive research to list down different types of cancers in decreasing order of prevalence. Rise in demand for novel and accurate PCR devices, market in terms of revenues is currently dominated by the developed economies. Expansion of leading players in Middle East and Asia pacific market and allocation of research outsourcing to emerging countries such as India, China, Japan and others will positively increase demand for dPCR devices in forthcoming years. Some of the key players in the global dPCR market include RainDance Technologies, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Life Technologies, Fluidigm Corporation among other prominent players.
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