from Technology Networks by Ruairi J Mackenzie
What is RNA-seq?
RNA-seq (RNA-sequencing) is a technique that can examine the quantity and sequences of RNA in a sample using next generation sequencing (NGS). It analyzes the transcriptome of gene expression patterns encoded within our RNA. Here, we look at why RNA-seq is useful, how the technique works, and the basic protocol which is commonly used today.
What are the applications of RNA-seq?
RNA-seq lets us investigate and discover the transcriptome, the total cellular content of RNAs including mRNA, rRNA and tRNA. Understanding the transcriptome is key if we are to connect the information on our genome with its functional protein expression. RNA-seq can tell us which genes are turned on in a cell, what their level of expression is, and at what times they are activated or shut off. This allows scientists to more deeply understand the biology of a cell and assess changes that may indicate disease. Some of the most popular techniques that use RNA-seq are transcriptional profiling, SNP identification, RNA editing and differential gene expression analysis.