RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) uses the capabilities of high-throughput sequencing methods to provide insight into the transcriptome of a cell. Compared to previous Sanger sequencing- and microarray-based methods, RNA-Seq provides far higher coverage and greater resolution of the dynamic nature of the transcriptome. Beyond quantifying gene expression, the data generated by RNA-Seq facilitate the discovery of novel transcripts, identification of alternatively spliced genes, and detection of allele-specific expression.
Recent advances in the RNA-Seq workflow, from sample preparation to library construction to data analysis, have enabled researchers to further elucidate the functional complexity of the transcription. In addition to polyadenylated messenger RNA (mRNA) transcripts,
RNA-Seq can be applied to investigate different populations of RNA, including total RNA, pre-mRNA, and noncoding RNA, such as microRNA and long ncRNA.