Detection of high variability in gene expression from single-cell RNA-seq profiling

BMC Genomics
Hung-I Harry ChenYidong Chen


The advancement of the next-generation sequencing technology enables mapping gene expression at the single-cell level, capable of tracking cell heterogeneity and determination of cell subpopulations using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). Unlike the objectives of conventional RNA-seq where differential expression analysis is the integral component, the most important goal of scRNA-seq is to identify highly variable genes across a population of cells, to account for the discrete nature of single-cell gene expression and uniqueness of sequencing library preparation protocol for single-cell sequencing. However, there is lack of generic expression variation model for different scRNA-seq data sets. Hence, the objective of this study is to develop a gene expression variation model (GEVM), utilizing the relationship between coefficient of variation (CV) and average expression level to address the over-dispersion of single-cell data, and its corresponding statistical significance to quantify the variably expressed genes (VEGs). We have built a simulation framework that generated scRNA-seq data with different number of cells, model parameters, and variation levels. We implemented our GEVM and demonstrated the robustness by using a...Continue Reading


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