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NIST Says Microarray Vendors are Behind Nascent Gene Expression Standards Effort

SAN FRANCISCO, June 15   (GenomeWeb News) - The National Institute of Standards and Technology is making progress in its effort to create a consortium that could aid in standardizing gene expression measurements, a NIST official told GenomeWeb News this week.


Marc Salit, a research chemist at NIST, said that agency representatives sat down with six "major" microarray manufacturers in Boulder, Colo., last month to "investigate ways of working together to explore issues of common interest."


During a presentation at Cambridge Healthtech Institute's Beyond Genome conference held here this week, Salit told attendees that "a number of [manufacturers] have given a verbal commitment to join this consortium" which NIST is calling the Consortium for Gene Expression Metrology.


NIST kicked off the initiative last fall, pledging $6.25 million over the next five years to "improve the quality, reliability and comparability of gene expression measurements with microarrays."


Salit in a later interview stressed that no agreements have been signed, the parties are in very preliminary discussions, and "at this point [NIST] is just investigating to see if [a consortium] makes sense." He declined to name the six manufacturers.


NIST is involved in a number of efforts to encourage standardization in the genomics space. The organization is also hosting the External RNA Controls Consortium, although Salit said that, if formed, the new consortium would be restricted to microarray manufacturers and government agencies, while the ERCC is an ad-hoc organization with open membership. 

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