An expressed sequence tag is a randomly selected region of a gene generated by short PCR reactions on a cDNA template. ESTs can be used in gene identification and expression pattern characterization. Given that ESTs are generated by a single pass read of a cDNA library, they are currently limited to 200-800 bases and contain a high error rate. Despite these limitations, the rapidly growing number of ESTs available in public databases has made them an attractive complement to whole genome sequencing techniques. ESTs are alternatively used in reference to a gene that is undefined beyond a known tag.
Nagaraj SH, Gasser RB, Ranganathan S (Jan 2007). "A hitchhiker's guide to expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis". Brief. Bioinformatics 8 (1): 6–21. doi:10.1093/bib/bbl015. PMID 16772268
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