RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is the leading, routine, high-throughput, and cost-effective next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach for mapping and quantifying transcriptomes, and determining the transcriptional structure. The transcriptome is a complete collection of transcripts found in a cell or tissue or organism at a given time point or specific developmental or environmental or physiological condition. The emergence and evolution of RNA-Seq chemistries have changed the landscape and the pace of transcriptome research in life sciences over a decade. This chapter introduces RNA-Seq and surveys its recent food and agriculture applications, ranging from differential gene expression, variants calling and detection, allele-specific expression, alternative splicing, alternative polyadenylation site usage, microRNA profiling, circular RNAs, single-cell RNA-Seq, metatranscriptomics, and systems biology. A few popular RNA-Seq databases and analysis tools are also presented for each application. We began to witness the broader impacts of RNA-Seq in addressing complex biological questions in food and agriculture.
Part of the book: Applications of RNA-Seq in Biology and Medicine