New Reference Standards Could Ensure Standardization of Genetic Test Results

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released new reference standards that could help diagnostic laboratories standardize their equipment and software to reduce variability in genetic test results between laboratories.

The federal government opened the door to a new era of genetic medicine on Thursday by introducing a standard way to ensure the accuracy of DNA tests used to tailor treatments for individual patients.

Scientists have identified hundreds of genetic mutations that appear to increase the risk of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrosis. But laboratories often report different results when they analyze genes obtained from samples of the same blood or tissue, because of variations in their testing equipment and methods.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology said Thursday that it had developed “reference materials” that could be used by laboratories to determine whether their machines and software were properly analyzing a person’s genetic blueprint, or genome.

Complete article on The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1H7d6xW