Anatomical structures, cell types and biomarkers of the Human Reference Atlas

Nat Cell Biol. 2021 Nov;23(11):1117-1128. doi: 10.1038/s41556-021-00788-6. Epub 2021 Nov 8.


The Human Reference Atlas (HRA) aims to map all of the cells of the human body to advance biomedical research and clinical practice. This Perspective presents collaborative work by members of 16 international consortia on two essential and interlinked parts of the HRA: (1) three-dimensional representations of anatomy that are linked to (2) tables that name and interlink major anatomical structures, cell types, plus biomarkers (ASCT+B). We discuss four examples that demonstrate the practical utility of the HRA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atlases as Topic*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Biology*
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cells / classification*
  • Cells / metabolism
  • Cells / pathology
  • Computer Graphics
  • Disease
  • Genomics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Single-Cell Analysis*
  • Transcriptome


  • Biomarkers