Event timing at the single-cell level

Brief Funct Genomics. 2013 Mar;12(2):90-8. doi: 10.1093/bfgp/els057. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


The timing of a cellular event often hides critical information on the process leading to the event. Our ability to measure event times in single cells along with other quantities allow us to learn about the drivers of the timed process and its downstream effects. In this review, we cover different types of events that have been timed in single cells, methods to time such events and types of analysis that have been applied to event timings. We show how different timing distributions suggest different natures for the process. The statistical relations between the timing of different events may reveal how their respective processes are related biologically: Do they occur in sequence or in parallel? Are they independent or inter-dependent? Finally, quantifying morphological and molecular variables may help assess their contribution to the timing of an event and its related process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Time Factors