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MicroRNA Detection Specificity: Recent Advances and Future Perspective

Ouyang, Tinglan, Liu, Zhiyu, Han, Zhiyi, Ge, Qinyu
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.5 pp. 3179-3186
Northern blotting, early diagnosis, gene expression, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, microRNA, microarray technology, prognosis, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcription, therapeutics
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a series of promising molecules that could regulate gene expression, while its expression level and type are strictly related to the early diagnosis, targeted therapy, and prognosis of diseases. Improved detection accuracy of miRNAs would lead to unprecedented progress in early treatment. Numerous methods to improve sensitivity have been proposed and confirmed valuable in miRNAs detection recently. However, the research which especially targets at improving detection specificity remains rare. This Feature gives a retrospective summary of the most common detection methods including Northern blot, reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction, next-generation sequencing, and microarray. Common methods play an important role in many aspects because of maturity and stability. However, the problem of specificity still exists. Then, this Feature summarizes breakthroughs in traditional techniques which are closely related to progressive methods to improve specificity. In addition, considerable studies focusing on improving accuracy are described in detail. Most of them involve the reasonable combination of common methods, and the strategies that contribute to improving accuracy are classified. This Feature aims to illustrate the importance of detection accuracy and explore how to improve specificity on detecting miRNAs, especially homologous families.