Quantification of gene expression while taking into account RNA alternative splicing.
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Gene expression has been widely used in functional genomics research; however, the gene expressions quantified with different methods have been frequently inconsistent, thus challenging the conclusions from such research. Here we have addressed this issue, while taking into account RNA alternative splicing. We found that when a gene was subjected to RNA alternative splicing, it was impossible or difficult to properly quantify the expression of a transcript of the gene or its overall expression using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), Northern hybridization, microarray, or serial analysis of gene expression. Shot-gun RNA-seq was the most proper to quantify the expression of a transcript or a gene in such cases. Moreover, the expressions of individual transcripts quantified by shot-gun RNA-seq were highly reproducible (r=0.90-0.98) between individuals. Therefore, shot-gun or full-length RNA-seq should be the method of choice to properly quantify the expression of a transcript or a gene.