The study of RNA has long been the tool of choice for understanding where and when genes are expressed in a cell, tissue, or organism during development or under specific physiological or environmental conditions. Recent discoveries have revolutionized our concept of RNA function; it is now known to be active in a much wider set of biological processes than was previously believed. Techniques for isolating RNA and for uncovering its interactions with proteins have taken on new importance as many laboratories define the roles of specific RNAs in the cell. The October issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features articles detailing methods for RNA analysis.

Quantitative Real-Time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) of Zebrafish Transcripts: Optimization of RNA Extraction, Quality Control Considerations and Data Analysis from Donald Love and colleagues at the University of Auckland presents an optimized method for RNA isolation from zebrafish, along with quality assessment and the use of reference genes. A protocol for quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is also included. Like all of our featured articles, these protocols are freely available to subscribers and non-subscribers alike.