What’s The Answer? (first appearance of RNA-seq)

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In a fast moving field, sometimes you don’t even realize how quickly a new term becomes standard. This was an interesting exercise. And the adoption and spread of this technology really is astonishing when you think about it from this perspective.

Question: What is first publication/mention of term RNA-seq

I’m looking for early references to the term RNA-Seq (or mRNA-Seq).

Are there any before these that appeared in 2008?

  1. Highly Integrated Single-Base Resolution Maps of the Epigenome in Arabidopsis
  2. Mapping and quantifying mammalian transcriptomes by RNA-Seq
  3. The Transcriptional Landscape of the Yeast Genome Defined by RNA Sequencing

Quoting from #3: “We have developed a novel sequencing-based method called RNA-Seq in which cDNA fragments are subjected to high throughput sequencing using the Illumina platform, and short reads are computationally mapped to the genome to identify the transcribed regions.”


“Here we describe a novel high throughput sequencing-based approach for global transcriptome mapping called RNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq)” (with RNA and S of Sequencing underlined.)

Based on this, I’m inclined to say the authors of #3 coined the term.


I’m glad someone is trying to trace this. As one comment notes, the historical perspective is interesting, even though it is still so recent. And having the citations is handy. Check out the chatter.