Evaluation and Use of a Synthetic Quality Control Material, Included in the European External Quality Assessment Scheme for Cystic Fibrosis

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Communicated by Garry R. CuttingAssuring high quality within the field of genetic testing is fundamental, as the results can have considerable impact on the patient and his or her family. The use of appropriate quality control (QC) samples is therefore essential. Diagnostic laboratories mainly use patient samples as QC material, which of course include a maximum of two mutations per sample. Bearing in mind that some assays (such as for cystic fibrosis [CF] testing) can test for more than 100 mutations, multiplex QC materials including more than two mutations could save valuable time and reagents. Based on this need, synthetic multiplex controls have been developed by Maine Molecular Quality Controls, Inc. (MMQCI) for CF. A synthetic control, containing six homozygous mutations and one polymorphism for CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), was evaluated by distributing it through the CF external quality assessment (EQA) scheme, along with the EQA samples in 2005. A total of 197 participants returned results of the yearly EQA scheme and 133 laboratories participated in the evaluation of the synthetic sample. Respectively, 76% and 73% of the participants were assigned as successful. This evaluation study revealed that the multiplex QC material performed well in the majority of assays and could be useful in method validation, as a tool to challenge interpretation skills, and as potential proficiency testing (PT) material. Hum Mutat 29(8), 1063–1070, 2008. r 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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