Defining cell identity with single-cell omics

Laura Mincarelli, Ashleigh Lister, James Lipscombe, Iain C. Macaulay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Cells are a fundamental unit of life, and the ability to study the phenotypes and behaviors of individual cells is crucial to understanding the workings of complex biological systems. Cell phenotypes (epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic) exhibit dramatic heterogeneity between and within the different cell types and states underlying cellular functional diversity. Cell genotypes can also display heterogeneity throughout an organism, in the form of somatic genetic variation—most notably in the emergence and evolution of tumors. Recent technical advances in single-cell isolation and the development of omics approaches sensitive enough to reveal these aspects of cell identity have enabled a revolution in the study of multicellular systems. In this review, we discuss the technologies available to resolve the genomes, epigenomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, and metabolomes of single cells from a wide variety of living systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700312
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • epigenomics
  • genomics
  • proteomics
  • single-cell
  • technology
  • transcriptomics

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