Potla P, Ali SA, and Kapoor M. A bioinformatics approach to microRNA-sequencing analysis. Osteoarthr Cartil Open 2021; 3(1).
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Open
The rapid expansion of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data availability has made exploration of appropriate bioinformatics analysis pipelines a timely issue. Since there are multiple tools and combinations thereof to analyze any dataset, there can be uncertainty in how to best perform an analysis in a robust and reproducible manner. This is especially true for newer omics applications, such as miRNomics, or microRNA-sequencing (miRNA-sequencing). As compared to transcriptomics, there have been far fewer miRNA-sequencing studies performed to date, and those that are reported seldom provide detailed description of the bioinformatics analysis, including aspects such as Unique Molecular Identifiers (UMIs). In this article, we attempt to fill the gap and help researchers understand their miRNA-sequencing data and its analysis. This article will specifically discuss a customizable miRNA bioinformatics pipeline that was developed using miRNA-sequencing datasets generated from human osteoarthritis plasma samples. We describe quality assessment of raw sequencing data files, reference-based alignment, counts generation for miRNA expression levels, and novel miRNA discovery. This report is expected to improve clarity and reproducibility of the bioinformatics portion of miRNA-sequencing analysis, applicable across any sample type, to promote sharing of detailed protocols in the NGS field.