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A comparison between whole transcript and 3' RNA sequencing methods using Kapa and Lexogen library preparation methods.



3' RNA sequencing provides an alternative to whole transcript analysis. However, we do not know a priori the relative advantage of each method. Thus, a comprehensive comparison between the whole transcript and the 3' method is needed to determine their relative merits. To this end, we used two commercially available library preparation kits, the KAPA Stranded mRNA-Seq kit (traditional method) and the Lexogen QuantSeq 3' mRNA-Seq kit (3' method), to prepare libraries from mouse liver RNA. We then sequenced and analyzed the libraries to determine the advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches.


We found that the traditional whole transcript method and the 3' RNA-Seq method had similar levels of reproducibility. As expected, the whole transcript method assigned more reads to longer transcripts, while the 3' method assigned roughly equal numbers of reads to transcripts regardless of their lengths. We found that the 3' RNA-Seq method detected more short transcripts than the whole transcript method. With regard to differential expression analysis, we found that the whole transcript method detected more differentially expressed genes, regardless of the level of sequencing depth.


The 3' RNA-Seq method was better able to detect short transcripts, while the whole transcript RNA-Seq was able to detect more differentially expressed genes. Thus, both approaches have relative advantages and should be selected based on the goals of the experiment.

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