Comprehensively characterizing the cellular composition and organization of tissues has been a long-term scientific challenge that has limited our ability to study fundamental and clinical aspects of human physiology. The Human Cell Atlas (HCA) is a global collaborative effort to create a reference map of all human cells as a basis for both understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease. Many aspects of the HCA are analogous to the Human Genome Project (HGP), whose completion presents a major milestone in modern biology. To commemorate the HGP's 20-year anniversary of completion, we discuss the launch of the HCA in light of the HGP, and highlight recent progress by the HCA consortium.
Keywords: Human Cell Atlas; Human Genome Project; single cell.
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