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Table 1 Major platforms for microRNA profiling

From: MicroRNAs and the cancer phenotype: profiling, signatures and clinical implications

Method Execution time Sample input Cost Advantages Disadvantages
qPCR <6 hours 10-500 ng <$300 High sensitivity, large dynamic range (~6 orders of magnitude), reproducibility, accessibility, compatible with several sources of biological material Low throughput, unable to detect novel or modified miRNAs, variability across platforms
Microfluidic qPCR platforms <6 hours 10-500 ng <$300 High throughput, high sensitivity, large dynamic range (~6 orders of magnitude), reproducibility, compatible with several sources of biological material Unable to detect novel or modified miRNAs, variability across platforms
Microarray 48 hours 100 ng-1 μg ~$300 High throughput, well optimized, well established analysis methods Generally cannot distinguish mature from pre-miRNAs, might require a non-specific amplification step
Next generation sequencing 2 weeks 500 ng-5 μg >$1000 High throughput, useful for miRNA discovery and modified miRNA detection, high sensitivity, large dynamic range (~5 orders of magnitude) Large investment and bioinformatics expertise required, slow turnover, may suffer from non-linearity in the amplification step
  1. miRNA, microRNA; qPCR, quantitative polymerase chain reaction.