Researchers Building a human cell atlas

In the year 2011, the computational biologist was trying to collaborate with molecular geneticist Joshua Levin, for testing a handful of methods for sequencing the RNA and testing the human cell. Where the scientists were aiming to push the technologies to the brink of failure and check which performs the best. They later processed the sample with the degraded RNA or the disappearing small amounts of the molecules.

For Regev, it sounded like an opportunity. As the cell is the basic unit of life; moreover, she has been looking for some ways that to explore how complex network of genes could operate in the individual cells; how these cells can differ and lastly, how diversly cell population could work together. The answers to such questions could reveal, in significance to how some of the most complex organisms such as human beings are built.

However, Regev and Levin, both work at the Broad Institute of MIT and the Harvard in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, that helped in sequencing the RNA of 18 apparently immune cells from the mouse bone cells. Later, she found that some of the produced starkly various patterns of the gene expressions from the rest. They were acting like two different sub-types fo cells.

This exploration made Regev to be pushed into further studies. For using the single cell sequencing for understanding that how many different cell types could be there in the human body, where they are residing and what they are doing. Her researches undergone testing 18 cells at a time for sequencing RNA from a few hundred to thousands and later combining single-cell analysis to the genome editing to check what happens when the key regulatory genes are totally shut down.

The developments are already broadening the spectrum of known types- for example, the identification of new cell types of retinal neurons.



Vineeta Sharma Written by: