Genome-wide copy number profiling of single cells in S-phase reveals DNA-replication domains

Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Apr 1;41(6):e66. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks1352. Epub 2013 Jan 7.


Single-cell genomics is revolutionizing basic genome research and clinical genetic diagnosis. However, none of the current research or clinical methods for single-cell analysis distinguishes between the analysis of a cell in G1-, S- or G2/M-phase of the cell cycle. Here, we demonstrate by means of array comparative genomic hybridization that charting the DNA copy number landscape of a cell in S-phase requires conceptually different approaches to that of a cell in G1- or G2/M-phase. Remarkably, despite single-cell whole-genome amplification artifacts, the log2 intensity ratios of single S-phase cells oscillate according to early and late replication domains, which in turn leads to the detection of significantly more DNA imbalances when compared with a cell in G1- or G2/M-phase. Although these DNA imbalances may, on the one hand, be falsely interpreted as genuine structural aberrations in the S-phase cell's copy number profile and hence lead to misdiagnosis, on the other hand, the ability to detect replication domains genome wide in one cell has important applications in DNA-replication research. Genome-wide cell-type-specific early and late replicating domains have been identified by analyses of DNA from populations of cells, but cell-to-cell differences in DNA replication may be important in genome stability, disease aetiology and various other cellular processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Base Composition
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA Copy Number Variations*
  • DNA Replication Timing
  • DNA Replication*
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • S Phase / genetics*
  • Single-Cell Analysis


  • DNA