From The Scientist by Niki Spahich, PhD
By exploring the inner workings of individual cells, rather than averaging bulk populations, researchers identify rare and important cell subtypes.
What Is Single Cell Sequencing?
Single cell sequencing is a collection of methods that researchers use to isolate and analyze sequence information from individual cells. Named the Nature Method of the Year in 2013, single cell sequencing techniques allow researchers to understand more than ever before about cells’ inner workings.
Many traditional sequencing methods cannot help researchers analyze material from individual or small numbers of cells—rather, they sequence bulk cell populations where a large number of cells, with their contents of interest, are pooled prior to analysis. Studying cells in bulk masks information about the cell-to-cell variability that exists in a population, presenting instead the population’s average genome. In contrast, single cell sequencing allows DNA or RNA from individual cells to be amplified and sequenced, capturing each cell’s uniqueness.