The Next Generation?

February 28, 2011

Not Star Trek.  What we’re talking about here is DNA sequencing, and the impact it is having, and will have, on studies of polyadenylation.

Since last summer, there has been a spate of papers describing the application of so-called Next Generation DNA sequencing (in its many manifestations) to the matter of polyadenylation.  The general idea is simple – to generate and analyze large numbers of short DNA tags that are derived from the junctions of the poly(A) tail and bodies of mRNAs.  The expected outcomes of such studies are qualitative and quantitative descriptions of the genome-wide distributions of polyadenylation sites.  This information would help to better annotate (or describe) the genome, and to help identify unusual occurrences.  The latter might include alternative poly(A) sites, sites associated with as-yet unidentified transcripts, and sites that define antisense RNAs.

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