RNA-Seq differential expression analysis – an extended review and a new software tool

The correct identification of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between specific conditions is a key in the understanding phenotypic variation. High-throughput transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) has become the main option for these studies. Thus, the number of methods and softwares for differential expression analysis from RNA-Seq data also increased rapidly. However, there is no consensus about the most appropriate pipeline or protocol for identifying differentially expressed genes from RNA-Seq data.

Researchers from the Federal University of Technology, Brazil present an extended review on the topic that includes the evaluation of six methods of mapping reads, including pseudo-alignment and quasi-mapping and nine methods of differential expression analysis from RNA-Seq data. The adopted methods were evaluated based on real RNA-Seq data, using qRT-PCR data as reference (gold-standard). As part of the results, the researchers developed a software that performs all the analysis presented in this work. The results indicated that mapping methods have minimal impact on the final DEGs analysis, considering that adopted data have an annotated reference genome. Regarding the adopted experimental model, the DEGs identification methods that have more consistent results were the limma+voom, NOIseq and DESeq2. Additionally, the consensus among five DEGs identification methods guarantees a list of DEGs with great accuracy, indicating that the combination of different methods can produce more suitable results. The consensus option is also included for use in the available software.

Overview of the pipeline presented in this work


Availability – The software is freely available at https://github.com/costasilvati/consexpression

Costa-Silva J, Domingues D, Lopes FM (2017) RNA-Seq differential expression analysis: An extended review and a software tool. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0190152. [article]

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