Material studied: RNA
Methods used: Microarrays, RNA sequencing
For our genes to be expressed, cells must first transcribe (or copy) genomic DNA into RNA. The full range of RNA transcripts produced—the transcriptome—varies across different cell types, as well as between healthy and diseased states. Cancer cells, for example, show altered gene expression, as do cells infected with viruses and bacteria.
In transcriptomics, high-throughput methods such as microarray analysis and RNA sequencing are used to measure the levels of thousands of transcripts at a time, giving researchers a comprehensive overview of how changes in our gene expression may lead to or stem from disease.