Single-cell RNA-seq: advances and future challenges


  • A.E. Saliba
  • A.J. Westermann
  • S.A. Gorski
  • J. Vogel


  • Nucleic Acids Research


  • Nucleic Acids Res 42 (14): 8845-8860


  • Phenotypically identical cells can dramatically vary with respect to behavior during their lifespan and this variation is reflected in their molecular composition such as the transcriptomic landscape. Single-cell transcriptomics using next-generation transcript sequencing (RNA-seq) is now emerging as a powerful tool to profile cell-to-cell variability on a genomic scale. Its application has already greatly impacted our conceptual understanding of diverse biological processes with broad implications for both basic and clinical research. Different single-cell RNA-seq protocols have been introduced and are reviewed here-each one with its own strengths and current limitations. We further provide an overview of the biological questions single-cell RNA-seq has been used to address, the major findings obtained from such studies, and current challenges and expected future developments in this booming field.