Single-cell RNA-seq: advances and future challenges

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. The authors 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.


Saliba AE, Westermann AJ, Gorski SA, Vogel J. (2014) Single-cell RNA-seq: advances and future challenges. Nucleic Acids Res [Epub ahead of print]. [article]