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External RNA Controls Consortium


RNA Spike-in Controls for Gene Expression.  For more information, visit



While early gene expression measurements with DNA microarrays were groundbreaking in their ability to reveal biological activity, the results were irreconcilable and irreproducible. Industry leaders approached the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2003 for help with addressing this problem.

NIST hosts the Industry-initiated External RNA Controls Consortium (ERCC) to build the measurement assurance tools needed to support reproducible gene expression measurements. ERCC partners from industry, government, and academia develop RNA spike-in controls and establish analytical methods for bringing reproducible gene expression measurements into routine, high-quality practice.

ERCC metrology products include Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2374 for use in the production of RNA spike-in control mixtures, documentary standard CLSI MM16-A, and the erccdashboard R package, an innovative spike-in control analysis software tool.

The scientific community has embraced the use of ERCC products, leveraging these tools for measurement assurance, method development, and technology innovation. Gene expression assay and technology developers are incorporating ERCC controls derived from SRM 2374 and the erccdashboard software into their products and protocols.

To keep pace with scientific discoveries and new RNA measurement technologies, such as RNA-Seq, the ERCC is currently developing an updated suite of RNA controls and analysis methods called ERCC 2.0.

Contact our team to learn more about ERCC efforts including SRM 2374, the erccdashboard, and the new suite of ERCC materials.

For a list of selected ERCC-related publications click here.


Created January 9, 2015, Updated December 21, 2018