Technology key for success of the Human Cell Atlas Project is benchmarked

Technology key for success of the Human Cell Atlas Project is benchmarked

News from CRG

An international research group led by Holger Heyn of the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico, part of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), has benchmarked 13 different single-cell RNA sequencing methods. The results, published in Nature Biotechnology, will help aid reproducibility efforts in single cell sequencing, an area of intensive research.

All cells share the same DNA, yet there are many cell types. They vary enormously within the body, and express different sets of genes. To describe all of a cell’s functions and to understand the biological networks that direct their activities, scientists founded the Human Cell Atlas Project, an international community of biologists, clinicians, technologists, physicists, computational scientists, software engineers, and mathematicians.

Creating maps of cell types would give researchers an idea of how cell types work together to form tissues, knowledge of how all body systems are connected, and insights into how changes in the map underlie health and disease. 

New tools such as single-cell RNA sequencing are driving huge progress in the Human Cell Atlas Project, for example identifying RNA messages, known as the transcriptome, that help give each cell its own identity and distinguish it from the many other cell types found in the body. A few years ago, measuring this complex and extensive information would have been impossible.


Mereu, E., Lafzi, A., Moutinho, C. et al. Benchmarking single-cell RNA-sequencing protocols for cell atlas projects. Nat Biotechnol (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41587-020-0469-4

More information:
CRG website