RNA-seq in the tetraploid Xenopus laevis enables genome-wide insight in a classic developmental biology model organism

Methods. 2014 Apr 1;66(3):398-409. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.06.009. Epub 2013 Jun 20.


Advances in sequencing technology have significantly advanced the landscape of developmental biology research. The dissection of genetic networks in model and non-model organisms has been greatly enhanced with high-throughput sequencing technologies. RNA-seq has revolutionized the ability to perform developmental biology research in organisms without a published genome sequence. Here, we describe a protocol for developmental biologists to perform RNA-seq on dissected tissue or whole embryos. We start with the isolation of RNA and generation of sequencing libraries. We further show how to interpret and analyze the large amount of sequencing data that is generated in RNA-seq. We explore the abilities to examine differential expression, gene duplication, transcript assembly, alternative splicing and SNP discovery. For the purposes of this article, we use Xenopus laevis as the model organism to discuss uses of RNA-seq in an organism without a fully annotated genome sequence.

Keywords: Differential expression; RNA-seq; Xenopus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Developmental Biology / methods
  • Genome*
  • Models, Animal
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics*
  • Xenopus laevis / growth & development