The biological function of a gene often depends on spatial context, and an atlas of transcriptional regulation could be instrumental in defining functional elements across the genome. Despite recent advances in single-cell RNA sequencing and in situ RNA imaging, fundamental barriers limit the speed, genome-wide coverage, and resolution of de novo transcriptome assembly in space. Here, I discuss potential next-generation approaches for the de novo assembly of the transcriptome in space, and propose more efficient methods of detecting long-range spatial variations in gene expression. Finally, I discuss future in situ sequencing chemistries for visualizing biological pathways and processes in tissues so that genomics technologies might be more easily applied to conditions of human health and disease.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.