RNA sequencing: the teenage years

Nat Rev Genet. 2019 Nov;20(11):631-656. doi: 10.1038/s41576-019-0150-2. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


Over the past decade, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has become an indispensable tool for transcriptome-wide analysis of differential gene expression and differential splicing of mRNAs. However, as next-generation sequencing technologies have developed, so too has RNA-seq. Now, RNA-seq methods are available for studying many different aspects of RNA biology, including single-cell gene expression, translation (the translatome) and RNA structure (the structurome). Exciting new applications are being explored, such as spatial transcriptomics (spatialomics). Together with new long-read and direct RNA-seq technologies and better computational tools for data analysis, innovations in RNA-seq are contributing to a fuller understanding of RNA biology, from questions such as when and where transcription occurs to the folding and intermolecular interactions that govern RNA function.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / history*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / history*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / history
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / history*


  • RNA, Messenger