In the last decades, transcriptome profiling has been one of the most utilized approaches to investigate human diseases at the molecular level. Through expression studies, many molecular biomarkers and therapeutic targets have been found for several human pathologies. This number is continuously increasing thanks to total RNA sequencing. Indeed, this new technology has completely revolutionized transcriptome analysis allowing the quantification of gene expression levels and allele-specific expression in a single experiment, as well as to identify novel genes, splice isoforms, fusion transcripts, and to investigate the world of non-coding RNA at an unprecedented level. RNA sequencing has also been employed in important projects, like ENCODE (Encyclopedia of the regulatory elements) and TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas), to provide a snapshot of the transcriptome of dozens of cell lines and thousands of primary tumor specimens. Moreover, these studies have also paved the way to the development of data integration approaches in order to facilitate management and analysis of data and to identify novel disease markers and molecular targets to use in the clinics. In this scenario, several ongoing clinical trials utilize transcriptome profiling through RNA sequencing strategies as an important instrument in the diagnosis of numerous human pathologies.
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