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RNA Sequencing Fuels Circadian Rhythm Research

Linda Seaton
| Jun 24, 2014

We all have an internal clock that keeps time for our brain and the other tissues in our bodies. Our circadian clocks also influence output processes such as blood pressure and sleep/wake cycles. That’s why most of us will wake up at about the same time every morning. Unless you’re a teenager. Then it takes the noise of five incredibly annoying alarm clocks scattered around the room to wake you. Sometimes. Of course the clocks succeed in waking everybody else up…but, I digress.

Michael Hughes, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis studying how the circadian clock influences cellular and organismal physiology. With a focus on understanding transcriptional rhythms, he’s using the MiSeq System to perform targeted RNA profiling to study the cycling transcripts of mice and Drosophila clock genes. Working with Dr. Karyn Esser at the University of Kentucky, he’s analyzing 150–200 of the > 4,000 murine skeletal muscle cycling genes. The multiplexing capability of TruSeq Targeted RNA Expression Panels is enabling him to perform these analyses cost-effectively.

In teaching his lab class, he’ll be walking first- and second-year Ph.D. students through one of his circadian rhythm experiments. According to Dr. Hughes, performing sequencing on the MiSeq System is “ridiculously easy” and will help him demystify the whole process of next-generation sequencing.

Now if only his research could demystify the sleep patterns of teenagers…