Defining the Skin Cellular Community Using Single-Cell Genomics to Advance Precision Medicine

J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Feb;141(2):255-264. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2020.05.104. Epub 2020 Jul 23.


Single-cell genomics has revolutionized biological science, enabling high-resolution analysis of human tissues. The ability to demonstrate the role and function of distinct cell types comprising human tissues paves the way for a new understanding of cellular pathways, interactions, and future research directions. The skin, easily accessible and possessing a diverse and complex role in defending us both physically and immunologically from the outside world, lends itself ideally to single-cell genomics analysis. Here, we outline the benefits of single-cell RNA sequencing while also highlighting the challenges in achieving a meaningful result from its use. Key milestones relating to the study of skin in this way are introduced, covering both healthy and diseased states, and we discuss the potential promise of single-cell RNA sequencing to result in tangible medical advances, with a particular focus on precision medicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Data Analysis
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Skin / cytology*