High-throughput sequencing (HTS) methods for analyzing RNA populations (RNA-Seq) are gaining rapid application to many experimental situations. The steps in an RNA-Seq experiment require thought and planning, especially because the expense in time and materials is currently higher and the protocols are far less routine than those used for other high-throughput methods, such as microarrays. As always, good experimental design will make analysis and interpretation easier. Having a clear biological question, an idea about the best way to do the experiment, and an understanding of the number of replicates needed will make the entire process more satisfying. Whether the goal is capturing transcriptome complexity from a tissue or identifying small fragments of RNA cross-linked to a protein of interest, conversion of the RNA to cDNA followed by direct sequencing using the latest methods is a developing practice, with new technical modifications and applications appearing every day. Even more rapid are the development and improvement of methods for analysis of the very large amounts of data that arrive at the end of an RNA-Seq experiment, making considerations regarding reproducibility, validation, visualization, and interpretation increasingly important. This introduction is designed to review and emphasize a pathway of analysis from experimental design through data presentation that is likely to be successful, with the recognition that better methods are right around the corner.
A Review of the Methods for Processing High-Throughput RNA Sequencing Data
Ares M Jr. (2014) Methods for processing high-throughput RNA sequencing data. Cold Spring Harb Protoc 11:pdb.top083352. [abstract]