from Genetic Engineering News – by Richard A. Stein –
The transcriptome is less a tranquil pool than a turbulent stream that keeps shifting its course and adopting new patterns of gene expression. To survey this stream, one must repeatedly troop up and down its banks. Otherwise, one will never identify its developmental headwaters, homeostatic meanders, or pathogenic cascades.
Along with surveying comes prospecting, that is, dipping into the sediment beneath the flow to assess the cellular and molecular bases of gene expression. Here it is important to distinguish between materials that may seem to be homogeneous or intractably jumbled, but are in fact heterogeneous and, more important, separable. In fact, the growing appreciation of the inter-individual variability that defines cellular populations has become the driving force of efforts to capture and analyze the transcriptome in single cells (read more…)