SIN­GLE-CELL GE­NOMICS

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

In or­der to mea­sure the gene ac­tiv­ity in a sin­gle cell, you need to isolate its RNA – the molec­u­lar mes­sages pro­duced when genes are switched on. By com­par­ing the se­quences of th­ese mes­sages with the whole genome (the com­plete set of DNA con­tained inside ev­ery cell), re­searchers can fig­ure out which genes are be­ing ex­pressed in any par­tic­u­lar cell at that time.

1 Sep­a­rate tis­sue sam­ple into sin­gle cells, us­ing high-pow­ered fo­cused laser beams, en­zymes or other tech­niques.

2 Break open each cell to re­lease the RNA mes­sages.

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