Sequencing of RNA (RNA-Seq) was invented approximately 1 decade ago and has since revolutionized biological research. This update provides a brief historic perspective on the development of RNA-Seq and then focuses on the application of RNA-Seq in qualitative and quantitative analyses of transcriptomes. Particular emphasis is given to aspects of data analysis. Since the wet-lab and data analysis aspects of RNA-Seq are still rapidly evolving and novel applications are continuously reported, a printed review will be rapidly outdated and can only serve to provide some examples and general guidelines for planning and conducting RNA-Seq studies. Hence, selected references to frequently update online resources are given.
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