Development and applications of single-cell transcriptome analysis

Nat Methods. 2011 Apr;8(4 Suppl):S6-11. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1557.


Dissecting the relationship between genotype and phenotype is one of the central goals in developmental biology and medicine. Transcriptome analysis is a powerful strategy to connect genotype to phenotype of a cell. Here we review the history, progress, potential applications and future developments of single-cell transcriptome analysis. In combination with live cell imaging and lineage tracing, it will be possible to decipher the full gene expression network underlying physiological functions of individual cells in embryos and adults, and to study diseases.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Gene Expression Profiling / history
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / statistics & numerical data
  • Gene Expression Profiling / trends
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*


  • RNA