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Methods. 2009 Jul;48(3):249-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.03.016. Epub 2009 Mar 29.

RNA-Seq-quantitative measurement of expression through massively parallel RNA-sequencing.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Stem Cells, C.P. 6128 Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Que. H3C3J7, Canada.


The ability to quantitatively survey the global behavior of transcriptomes has been a key milestone in the field of systems biology, enabled by the advent of DNA microarrays. While this approach has literally transformed our vision and approach to cellular physiology, microarray technology has always been limited by the requirement to decide, a priori, what regions of the genome to examine. While very high density tiling arrays have reduced this limitation for simpler organisms, it remains an obstacle for larger, more complex, eukaryotic genomes. The recent development of "next-generation" massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies by companies such as Roche (454 GS FLX), Illumina (Genome Analyzer II), and ABI (AB SOLiD) has completely transformed the way in which quantitative transcriptomics can be done. These new technologies have reduced both the cost-per-reaction and time required by orders of magnitude, making the use of sequencing a cost-effective option for many experimental approaches. One such method that has recently been developed uses MPS technology to directly survey the RNA content of cells, without requiring any of the traditional cloning associated with EST sequencing. This approach, called "RNA-seq", can generate quantitative expression scores that are comparable to microarrays, with the added benefit that the entire transcriptome is surveyed without the requirement of a priori knowledge of transcribed regions. The important advantage of this technique is that not only can quantitative expression measures be made, but transcript structures including alternatively spliced transcript isoforms, can also be identified. This article discusses the experimental approach for both sample preparation and data analysis for the technique of RNA-seq.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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