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.
Single-cell RNA-seq: advances and future challenges
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]