Methods for lineage tracing on the organism-wide level


  • B. Spanjaard
  • J.P. Junker


  • Current Opinion in Cell Biology


  • Curr Opin Cell Biol 49: 16-21


  • Determining the lineage origin of cell types is a major goal in developmental biology. Furthermore, lineage tracing is a powerful approach for understanding the origin of developmental defects as well as the origin of diseases such as cancer. There is now a variety of complementary approaches for identifying lineage relationships, ranging from direct observation of cell divisions by light microscopy to genetic labeling of cells using inducible recombinases and fluorescent reporters. A recent development, and the main topic of this review article, is the use of high-throughput sequencing data for lineage analysis. This emerging approach holds the promise of increased multiplexing capacity, allowing lineage analysis of large cell numbers up to the organism-wide level combined with simultaneous transcription profiling by single cell RNA sequencing.