Deep learning of cross-species single-cell landscapes identifies conserved regulatory programs underlying cell types

Nat Genet. 2022 Nov;54(11):1711-1720. doi: 10.1038/s41588-022-01197-7. Epub 2022 Oct 13.


Despite extensive efforts to generate and analyze reference genomes, genetic models to predict gene regulation and cell fate decisions are lacking for most species. Here, we generated whole-body single-cell transcriptomic landscapes of zebrafish, Drosophila and earthworm. We then integrated cell landscapes from eight representative metazoan species to study gene regulation across evolution. Using these uniformly constructed cross-species landscapes, we developed a deep-learning-based strategy, Nvwa, to predict gene expression and identify regulatory sequences at the single-cell level. We systematically compared cell-type-specific transcription factors to reveal conserved genetic regulation in vertebrates and invertebrates. Our work provides a valuable resource and offers a new strategy for studying regulatory grammar in diverse biological systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Deep Learning*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Zebrafish* / genetics
  • Zebrafish* / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors