Screen technical noise in single cell RNA sequencing data

Genomics. 2020 Jan;112(1):346-355. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2019.02.014. Epub 2019 Feb 22.


We proposed a data cleaning pipeline for single cell (SC) RNA-seq data, where we first screen genes (gene-wise screening) followed by screening cell libraries (library-wise screening). Gene-wise screening is based on the expectation that for a gene with a low technical noise, a gene's count in a library will tend to increase with the increase of library size, which was tested using negative binomial regression of gene count (as dependent variable) against library size (as independent variable). Library-wise screening is based on the expectation that across-library correlations for housekeeping (HK) genes is expected to be higher than the correlations for non-housekeeping (NHK) genes in those libraries with low technical noise. We removed those libraries, whose mean pairwise correlation for HK genes is NOT significantly higher than that for NHK genes. We successfully applied the pipeline to two large SC RNA-seq datasets. The pipeline was also developed into an R package.

Keywords: Housekeeping genes; Next generation sequencing; QC; SCQC; Single cell RNA-seq.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Genes, Essential
  • Humans
  • RNA-Seq / methods*
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Software