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Short definition: The transcriptome is the set of all messenger RNA molecules in one cell or a population of cells.

Longer definition: The human genome is made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), a long, winding molecule that contains the instructions needed to build and maintain cells. These instructions are spelled out in the form of “base pairs” of four different chemicals, organized into 20,000 to 25,000 genes. For the instructions to be carried out, DNA must be “read” and transcribed – in other words, copied – into RNA (ribonucleic acid). These gene readouts are called transcripts, and a transcriptome is a collection of all the gene readouts present in a cell.

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