An era of single-cell genomics consortia

Exp Mol Med. 2020 Sep;52(9):1409-1418. doi: 10.1038/s12276-020-0409-x. Epub 2020 Sep 15.


The human body consists of 37 trillion single cells represented by over 50 organs that are stitched together to make us who we are, yet we still have very little understanding about the basic units of our body: what cell types and states make up our organs both compositionally and spatially. Previous efforts to profile a wide range of human cell types have been attempted by the FANTOM and GTEx consortia. Now, with the advancement in genomic technologies, profiling the human body at single-cell resolution is possible and will generate an unprecedented wealth of data that will accelerate basic and clinical research with tangible applications to future medicine. To date, several major organs have been profiled, but the challenges lie in ways to integrate single-cell genomics data in a meaningful way. In recent years, several consortia have begun to introduce harmonization and equity in data collection and analysis. Herein, we introduce existing and nascent single-cell genomics consortia, and present benefits to necessitate single-cell genomic consortia in a regional environment to achieve the universal human cell reference dataset.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods
  • Genomics* / methods
  • Humans
  • Single-Cell Analysis* / methods
  • Web Browser