Dear Stanley: Are Synthetic Standards Compatible with My Assay?

by | Clinical, Molecular

Publish Date: January 17, 2019

Dear Stanley,

I’m interested in a Microbiologics Helix Elite™ Synthetic Standards product, but I’m unsure if it will work for my assay. I read your post, Differences Between Synthetic and Inactivated Molecular Standards, but I’m still not confident the product and my assay are compatible. Any advice?


Matt from Austin, TX

Dear Matt,

Let me start by explaining more about Helix Elite Synthetic Standards.  As you read in my earlier post, these products are a consensus sequence of diagnostic regions from the target’s genome. This means each standard is a small sequence of DNA or RNA specially designed to work with primer and probe sequences used in the most common detection methods for specific diseases and microorganisms.

Since the product contains only a small section of DNA or RNA, not the entire genome, it is important to know the following:

  1. Is your assay detecting the same target region contained in the synthetic sequence?
  2. Will your primers and probes align well with the sequence?

To determine if your assay is looking for the same target on the synthetic sequence, go to the product’s page on our website and find the General Information section. Under Strain Characteristics, you will find what target gene(s) are contained on the synthetic sequence of interest (see the example below).

Cryptosporidium hominis Synthetic DNA

Once you have determined the synthetic sequence contains the gene of interest, you will need to check if the primers and probes align well. We can help you in two ways:

  1. If you can share your primer and probe sequences: Our Technical Support team can run an alignment of your sequences to the synthetic sequence and let you know if they align well.
  2. If you cannot share your primer and probe sequences: Our Technical Support team can provide a GenBank® sequence similar to the sequence in the synthetic standard.

If the alignment is correct, the only factor that may prohibit the sequence from working well is the assay’s run conditions. Check with the primer and probe sequence provider to see if they can confirm the run conditions are optimal for detection.

I hope the additional information helps you determine if Helix Elite Synthetic Standards are the right fit for your lab. Please contact our Technical Support team at 1.320.229.7045 or with any other compatibility questions.

Thanks for following the Microbiologics Blog!



Stanley Staphylococcus is a Master Micro-Technologist at Microbiologics, where he is responsible for helping customers understand why microorganisms behave the way they do. You could say he’s somewhat of a psychologist. Microbiologics has been lucky to have Stanley, a graduate of Gram-Positive Cocci University, as a member of their renowned Technical Support Team for over 20 years. Stanley says his favorite type of people are microbiologists and he enjoys traveling far and wide to meet them. Amazingly, Stanley has been on every continent – even Antarctica!

How to submit inquiries: There are two ways to get Stanley’s help. You can email your questions to or you can simply submit an inquiry from our Dear Stanley page. For urgent issues, please contact our Technical Support Team at or 1.320.229.7045.

Written by Microbiologics

Microbiologics is the foremost biological products and services provider, focused on protecting the health and safety of people around the world. For over 50 years, they have been partnering with healthcare and life science laboratories, manufacturers and suppliers across the globe to co-create and provide biological control materials, assay services and consulting for microbiology, molecular diagnostics and virology. Headquartered in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, the company has additional facilities in California, Kentucky and Michigan. Microbiologics has advanced industry standards for biological controls by adopting the most rigorous testing and quality standards including ISO 13485, ISO/IEC 17025, and ISO 17034. The company has an extensive distribution network spanning over 150 countries. For more information, visit

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