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The advent of next-generation sequencing, and in particular RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq), technologies has expanded our knowledge of the transcriptional capacity of human and other animal, genomes. In particular, recent RNA-seq studies have revealed that transcription is widespread across the mammalian genome, resulting in a large increase in the number of putative transcripts from both within, and intervening between, known protein-coding genes. Long transcripts that appear to lack protein-coding potential (long non-coding RNAs, lncRNAs) have been the focus of much recent research, in part owing to observations of their cell-type and developmental time-point restricted expression patterns. A variety of sequencing protocols are currently available for identifying lncRNAs including RNA polymerase II occupancy, chromatin state maps and - the focus of this review - deep RNA sequencing. In addition, there are numerous analytical methods available for mapping reads and assembling transcript models that predict the presence and structure of lncRNAs from RNA-seq data. Here we review current methods for identifying lncRNAs using large-scale sequencing data from RNA-seq experiments and highlight analytical considerations that are required when undertaking such projects.

Original publication




Journal article


Methods (San Diego, Calif.)

Publication Date





50 - 59


CGAT, MRC Functional Genomics Unit, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, UK. Electronic address:


Chromatin, Humans, RNA Polymerase II, Transcription, Genetic, Base Sequence, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, RNA, Long Noncoding