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Curr Genomics. 2012 Sep;13(6):477-88. doi: 10.2174/138920212802510439.

Single cell genomics of the brain: focus on neuronal diversity and neuropsychiatric diseases.

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National Research Center of Mental Health, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russia ; Institute of Pediatrics and Children Surgery, Minzdravsotsrazvitia, Moscow, Russia.


Single cell genomics has made increasingly significant contributions to our understanding of the role that somatic genome variations play in human neuronal diversity and brain diseases. Studying intercellular genome and epigenome variations has provided new clues to the delineation of molecular mechanisms that regulate development, function and plasticity of the human central nervous system (CNS). It has been shown that changes of genomic content and epigenetic profiling at single cell level are involved in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases (schizophrenia, mental retardation (intellectual/leaning disability), autism, Alzheimer's disease etc.). Additionally, several brain diseases were found to be associated with genome and chromosome instability (copy number variations, aneuploidy) variably affecting cell populations of the human CNS. The present review focuses on the latest advances of single cell genomics, which have led to a better understanding of molecular mechanisms of neuronal diversity and neuropsychiatric diseases, in the light of dynamically developing fields of systems biology and "omics".


Aneuploidy; Brain; Chromosome instability; Disease; Epigenome; Genomic variations; Single cell genomics; Somatic mosaicism.

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