Desperately Seq’ing RNA

from Genetic Engineering News by Vicki Glaser

Next-Generation Sequencing Is Increasingly Making Headway in Clinical Medicine for Diagnostic and Prognostic Purposes

It’s early days, but next-generation sequencing (NGS) is increasingly making headway in clinical medicine for diagnostic and prognostic purposes, for guiding disease management, and for monitoring treatment response.

Progress is particularly striking in cancer, where an NGS technology called RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is being used to sequence the transcriptome and decode the mechanisms and pathways by which noncoding RNA regulates gene expression.  By explicating the role of noncoding RNA in tumorigenesis, RNA-Seq is creating new opportunities for biomarker and drug target discovery.

Emerging data reveal the complexity of the various types of noncoding RNA elements—microRNAs (miRNAs), long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), circular RNAs (circRNAs)—and how they function and interact to maintain finely tuned post-transcriptional regulatory control over transcript abundance. As studies have shown, changes in the levels of miRNAs, for example, can lead to transcript dysregulation associated with cancer.

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