Ribonucleic acid—RNA—gives scientists a way to analyze gene expression. Getting the best results, though, depends on analyzing the right RNA in an effective way. Increasingly, scientists select RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), but there’s more than one method for that. New tools and techniques allow scientists to use this approach in more scientific situations, from environmental science to medicine.
RNA-seq is not the only way to study DNA expression. That can also be accomplished with microarrays or quantitative polymerase chain reactions (qPCR), also called real-time PCR (RT-PCR). In comparing these methods, Brian Lilhanand, single cell multiomics leader for BD, pointed out several advantages of RNA-seq: uncovering novel transcripts, because the technique does not require species- or transcript-specific probes; larger dynamic range; better ability to detect rare transcripts; and easier multiplexing for the number of transcripts being analyzed.