Intricacies of single-cell multi-omics data integration


  • P. Rautenstrauch
  • A.H.C. Vlot
  • S. Saran
  • U. Ohler


  • Trends in Genetics


  • Trends Genet 38 (2): 128-139


  • A wealth of single-cell protocols makes it possible to characterize different molecular layers at unprecedented resolution. Integrating the resulting multimodal single-cell data to find cell-to-cell correspondences remains a challenge. We argue that data integration needs to happen at a meaningful biological level of abstraction and that it is necessary to consider the inherent discrepancies between modalities to strike a balance between biological discovery and noise removal. A survey of current methods reveals that a distinction between technical and biological origins of presumed unwanted variation between datasets is not yet commonly considered. The increasing availability of paired multimodal data will aid the development of improved methods by providing a ground truth on cell-to-cell matches.