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A transcriptome is the full range of messenger RNA, or mRNA, molecules expressed by an organism. The term "transcriptome" can also be used to describe the array of mRNA transcripts produced in a particular cell or tissue type. In contrast with the genome, which is characterized by its stability, the transcriptome actively changes. In fact, an organism's transcriptome varies depending on many factors, including stage of development and environmental conditions.

A laboratory technique called the microarray can be used to examine changes in the transcriptome. Microarrays can be used to measure the expression of thousands of genes at the same time, as well as to provide gene expression profiles, which describe changes in the transcriptome in response to a particular condition or treatment.

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