Accounting for technical noise in single-cell RNA-seq experiments

Single-cell RNA-seq can yield valuable insights about the variability within a population of seemingly homogeneous cells. A team led by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Germany has developed a quantitative statistical method to distinguish true biological variability from the high levels of technical noise in single-cell experiments. Their approach quantifies the statistical significance of observed cell-to-cell variability in expression strength on a gene-by-gene basis. They validate their approach using two independent data sets from Arabidopsis thaliana and Mus musculus.


  • Brennecke P, Anders S, Kim JK, Kołodziejczyk AA, Zhang X, Proserpio V, Baying B, Benes V, Teichmann SA, Marioni JC, Heisler MG. (2013) Accounting for technical noise in single-cell RNA-seq experiments. Nat Methods [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]