Single CellSequencing is a next-generation sequencing (NGS) technique primarily used to analyze the variations in protein and genetic information between cells to extract genetic data on microorganisms, which are otherwise challenging to cultivate at the individual cell level and to comprehend their particular roles in the micro-environment better. Research studies in the field of single cell sequencing focus on a wide array of applications right from immunotherapy, neurobiology, and cancer treatment to, in the latest feat, COVID-19.A group of MIT researchers recently found a way to recover information through single cell sequencing. The team used a modified version of the Seq-Well technique, which gave them the capacity to extract ten times more information from each cell in a given sample. The increased information extraction resulting from the novel approach would help researchers gain more knowledge about the gene expression in each cell and help them find subtle yet critical variations between healthy cells and dysfunctional cells.
The leading companies in the industry include Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., 10x Genomics Inc., Becton, Dickinson & Company, Illumina, Bio-Rad, Fludigim, BGI, F Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., Qiagen, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies. 10x Genomics recently announced the acquisition of the Boston-based ReadCoor, Inc.. The company’s second in situ sequencing takeover was valued at USD 350 million in cash and stock consideration. It had previously announced the acquisition of Cartana, the Stockholm-based developer of in situ RNA analysis technology, in August.
In situ methods allow researchers to measure a colossal number of molecules directly through the precise location of the molecule at sub-cellular resolution. The newly-acquired capabilities might complement 10x Genomics Chromium Single Cell and Visium Spatial platforms and help the company establish the foundation for its third tech platform, widening its consumer base and facilitating the new translational as well as clinical applications.
The most relevant development recently pertains to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome in the transmission of the infection have remained unclear. A team of University of Chicago researchers has used a new approach, a technique named FD-seq, which is a high-throughput single cellsequencing approach to sequence single cells applicable for paraformaldehyde (PFA) treatment.
The team examined the immune response of human lung cells infected by coronavirus OC43, a virus belonging to the same family as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the common cold, which has been used successfully in drug discovery to prevent the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Mining this ‘biological bitcoin’ could have inestimable benefits, and the worth of genetic information will continue to be a major driver for the growth of the single cell sequencing market. However, the costs of it might also be similarly prohibitive for most consumers, impeding its accessibility and, subsequently, its growth.