Previous global RNA analysis was restricted to known transcripts in species with a defined transcriptome. Next generation sequencing has transformed transcriptomics by making it possible to analyse expressed genes with an exon level resolution from any tissue in any species without any a priori knowledge of which genes that are being expressed, splice patterns or their nucleotide sequence. In addition, RNA sequencing is a more sensitive technique compared with microarrays with a larger dynamic range, and it also allows for investigation of imprinting and allele-specific expression. This can be done for a cost that is able to compete with that of a microarray, making RNA sequencing a technique available to most researchers. Therefore RNA sequencing has recently become the state of the art with regards to large-scale RNA investigations and has to a large extent replaced microarrays. The only drawback is the large data amounts produced, which together with the complexity of the data can make a researcher spend far more time on analysis than performing the actual experiment.
RNA sequencing – current and prospective uses in metabolic research
Vikman P, Fadista J, Oskolkov N. (2014) RNA sequencing: current and prospective uses in metabolic research. J Mol Endocrinol 53(2):R93-R101. [article]