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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2019 Apr;48:47-56. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2019.04.002. Epub 2019 May 6.

Single cell RNA sequencing and its promise in reconstructing plant vascular cell lineages.

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Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH-8092, Zurich, Switzerland.
Department of Plant Biology and the Genome Center, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. Electronic address:


In the last decade, recent advances in single-cell RNA sequencing coupled with computational algorithms have opened new avenues to study the cell type composition of tissues and organs as well as to infer cell developmental trajectories. These technologies have been used to resolve and map atlases of tissues and organs in many animal species as well as to further order cell developmental trajectories. Despite these advances in animals, many of the current plant cell type expression profiles confound multiple developmental stages preventing an accurate monitoring of cell lineage. In this review, we propose how the application of single-cell sequencing will improve our molecular understanding of cell type differentiation. Using root vascular cells as a model, we highlight the potential of single cell transcriptomics as well as its limitations to monitor the progression of vascular maturation. By comparing cell morphology, functionality and gene expression, we aim to provide a new perspective of plant cell type differentiation.


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