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Single-cell sequencing-based technologies will revolutionize whole-organism science

Prof. Ehud Shapiro ( Department of Computer Science and Applied Math and Department of Biological Chemistry )

The model organism C. elegans offers a benchmark for the systematic and integrative study of organismal biology at the molecular, cellular, organ and organismal levels, which we refer to as ‘whole-organism science’.    The scaffold on which the comprehensive knowledge of C. elegans is structured is its cell lineage tree, which is presently unknown for higher organisms.  We recently presented a vision on how single-cell sequencing-based technologies can help achieve similar level of knowledge for higher organisms, including human, with the potential to resolve major open questions in biology and medicine.    In this talk we will present the vision, describe work carried out in our lab towards realizing it using current microfluidics and NGS single-cell technologies, mathematical tools we develop for describing and analyzing cellular dynamics, as well as preliminary results.

Shapiro, E., Biezuner, T. & Linnarsson, S. Single-cell sequencing-based technologies will revolutionize whole-organism science. Nature Reviews Genetics (2013).

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