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Dissecting stem cell differentiation using single cell expression profiling.

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Göttgens, Berthold 


Many assumptions about the way cells behave are based on analyses of populations. However, it is now widely recognized that even apparently pure populations can display a remarkable level of heterogeneity. This is particularly true in stem cell biology where it hinders our understanding of normal development and the development of strategies for regenerative medicine. Over the past decade technologies facilitating gene expression analysis at the single cell level have become widespread, providing access to rare cell populations and insights into population structure and function. Here we review the contributions of single cell biology to understanding stem cell differentiation so far, both as a new methodology for defining cell types and a tool for understanding the complexities of cellular decision-making.



Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Lineage, Gene Expression Profiling, Humans, Single-Cell Analysis, Stem Cells, Stochastic Processes

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Curr Opin Cell Biol

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Elsevier BV
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (12029)
Cancer Research Uk (None)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/I00050X/1)
Wellcome Trust (097922/Z/11/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_12009)
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (7001-12)
Medical Research Council (MR/M008975/1)
Research in the authors’ laboratories is supported by the Medical Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Bloodwise, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (Tracing Early Mammalian Lineage Decisions by Single Cell Genomics) and core support grants by the Wellcome Trust to the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and Wellcome Trust - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute.