One of the major challenges in single-cell transcriptomics is the distortion introduced by the unavoidable amplification step. In this new paper, we show that nearly all this distortion can be removed by labeling individual cDNA molecules with short, random sequences.

The paper builds on previous work with Jussi Taipale’s group, where we described how to track and count individual DNA molecules, by attaching short random sequences that serve as molecular tags. Now, we have extended this concept to single-cell RNA-seq, and show that it nearly eliminates PCR amplification bias. Another benefit of molecule counting is that it gives measurements in absolute units of molecules per cell, rather than the arbitrary relative units commonly used.

Quantitative single-cell RNA-seq with unique molecular identifiers
Published in Nature Methods (PDF)

Press reports

“Tagging Method Enables Efficient, Quantitative Single-cell RNA-seq” GenomeWeb