Rxivist logo

Scaling single cell transcriptomics through split pool barcoding

By Alexander B Rosenberg, Charles M. Roco, Richard A. Muscat, Anna Kuchina, Sumit Mukherjee, Wei Chen, David J Peeler, Zizhen Yao, Bosiljka Tasic, Drew L. Sellers, Suzie H Pun, Georg Seelig

Posted 02 Feb 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/105163 (published DOI: 10.1126/science.aam8999)

Constructing an atlas of cell types in complex organisms will require a collective effort to characterize billions of individual cells. Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) has emerged as the main tool for characterizing cellular diversity, but current methods use custom microfluidics or microwells to compartmentalize single cells, limiting scalability and widespread adoption. Here we present Split Pool Ligation-based Transcriptome sequencing (SPLiT-seq), a scRNA-seq method that labels the cellular origin of RNA through combinatorial indexing. SPLiT-seq is compatible with fixed cells, scales exponentially, uses only basic laboratory equipment, and costs one cent per cell. We used this approach to analyze 109,069 single cell transcriptomes from an entire postnatal day 5 mouse brain, providing the first global snapshot at this stage of development. We identified 13 main populations comprising different types of neurons, glia, immune cells, endothelia, as well as types in the blood-brain-barrier. Moreover, we resolve substructure within these clusters corresponding to cells at different stages of development. As sequencing capacity increases, SPLiT-seq will enable profiling of billions of cells in a single experiment.

Download data

  • Downloaded 12,787 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 173 out of 100,263
    • In genomics: 29 out of 6,218
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 4,537 out of 100,263
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: None out of 100,263

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)


  • 20 Oct 2020: Support for sorting preprints using Twitter activity has been removed, at least temporarily, until a new source of social media activity data becomes available.
  • 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
  • 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
  • 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
  • 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
  • 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
  • 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
  • 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
  • 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!