AAT Bioquest

What's the significance of reference genes?

Posted May 12, 2023


Reference genes, also known as housekeeping genes, are a group of genes with a presumed stable expression profile. They are expressed at a relatively constant level across different cell types, developmental stages, and experimental factors. 

The significance of reference genes lies in their ability to provide a reliable and consistent baseline for comparing the expression of target genes between samples or treatments. By using reference genes, researchers can increase the accuracy and reproducibility of their results. 

The selection and validation of reference genes are critical steps in gene expression studies. It is important to choose appropriate reference genes that are stably expressed in different tissues and cells and remain unaffected by biological or experimental conditions. Lastly, the expression of the selected reference gene should be similar to that of the target gene. 

Reference genes are commonly used as internal controls in gene expression studies to normalize the data and account for experimental variation, such as differences in RNA quantity or quality, reverse transcription efficiency, or PCR amplification efficiency.

Additional resources

Determination of reference genes as a quantitative standard for gene expression analysis in mouse mesangial cells stimulated with TGF-β

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

ROX Reference Dye *50X fluorescence reference solution for PCR reactions*