Small RNA Sequencing

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Small RNA Sequencing

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small RNA molecules that have an important regulatory role in multiple physiological and pathological processes. Their disease-specific profiles and presence in biofluids are properties that enable miRNAs to be employed as non-invasive biomarkers.

In the past decades, several methods have been developed for miRNA analysis, including small RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Small RNA-seq enables genome-wide profiling and analysis of known, as well as novel, miRNA variants. Moreover, its high sensitivity allows for profiling of low input samples such as liquid biopsies, which have now found applications in diagnostics and prognostics. Still, due to technical bias and the limited ability to capture the true miRNA representation, its potential remains unfulfilled. The introduction of many new small RNA-seq approaches that tried to minimize this bias, has led to the existence of the many small RNA-seq protocols seen today. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) has emerged as one of most powerful approaches for crop improvement also.

RNAi based on siRNA is one of the widely used tools of reverse genetics which aid in revealing gene functions in many species. This technology has been extensively applied to alter the gene expression in plants with an aim to achieve desirable traits.

Applications of Small RNA Sequencing
  • Enhancing the crop yield and productivity by manipulating the gene involved in biomass, grain yield and enhanced shelf life of fruits and vegetables
  • Applied for developing resistance against various biotic (bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, insects) and abiotic stresses (drought, salinity, cold, etc.)
  • Nutritional improvements of crops have also been achieved by enriching the crops with essential amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants and other nutrients beneficial for human health or by reducing allergens or anti-nutrients
  • MicroRNAs are key regulators of important plant processes like growth, development, and response to various stresses. In spite of similarity in size (20–24 nt), miRNA differ from siRNA in precursor structures, pathway of biogenesis, and modes of action.

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