Single-cell sequencing in stem cell biology

Genome Biol. 2016 Apr 15;17:71. doi: 10.1186/s13059-016-0941-0.


Cell-to-cell variation and heterogeneity are fundamental and intrinsic characteristics of stem cell populations, but these differences are masked when bulk cells are used for omic analysis. Single-cell sequencing technologies serve as powerful tools to dissect cellular heterogeneity comprehensively and to identify distinct phenotypic cell types, even within a 'homogeneous' stem cell population. These technologies, including single-cell genome, epigenome, and transcriptome sequencing technologies, have been developing rapidly in recent years. The application of these methods to different types of stem cells, including pluripotent stem cells and tissue-specific stem cells, has led to exciting new findings in the stem cell field. In this review, we discuss the recent progress as well as future perspectives in the methodologies and applications of single-cell omic sequencing technologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism