The differences between individual cells can have profound functional consequences, in both unicellular and multicellular organisms. Recently developed single-cell mRNA-sequencing methods enable unbiased, high-throughput, and high-resolution transcriptomic analysis of individual cells. This provides an additional dimension to transcriptomic information relative to traditional methods that profile bulk populations of cells. Already, single-cell RNA-sequencing methods have revealed new biology in terms of the composition of tissues, the dynamics of transcription, and the regulatory relationships between genes. Rapid technological developments at the level of cell capture, phenotyping, molecular biology, and bioinformatics promise an exciting future with numerous biological and medical applications.
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