expVIP: a customisable RNA-seq data analysis and visualisation platform.

gold Gold open access

The majority of RNA-seq expression studies in plants remain underutilised and inaccessible due to the use of disparate transcriptome references and the lack of skills and resources to analyse and visualise this data. We have developed expVIP, an expression Visualisation and Integration Platform, which allows easy analysis of RNA-seq data combined with an intuitive and interactive interface. Users can analyse public and user-specified datasets with minimal bioinformatics knowledge using the expVIP virtual machine. This generates a custom web browser to visualise, sort and filter the RNA-seq data and provides outputs for differential gene expression analysis. We demonstrate expVIP’s suitability for polyploid crops and evaluate its performance across a range of biologically-relevant scenarios. To exemplify its use in crop research we developed a flexible wheat expression browser (www.wheat-expression.com) which can be expanded with user-generated data in a local virtual machine environment. The open-access expVIP platform will facilitate the analysis of gene expression data from a wide variety of species by enabling the easy integration, visualisation and comparison of RNA-seq data across experiments.