Opinion: The Pandemic and the RNA Sequencing Gap

From The Scientist by Robert Ross

RNA sequencing technology lags far behind researchers’ ability to decode and understand DNA. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this dangerous shortcoming.

The worldwide attention on the SARS-CoV-2 virus has emphasized the dearth of analytical methodologies for rapid and cost-effective identification and characterization of viral RNA. Many virus families, including pathogenic varieties such as coronaviruses, human retroviruses, and influenza, are RNA viruses, meaning their genetic material occurs in the form of RNA instead of DNA. When these viruses infect host cells, the viral RNA package hijacks the infected cell’s molecular machinery and begins producing its own viral molecules, which eventually overwhelm the cell, releasing new viral molecules to infect other cells in the system…


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