Single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) is a powerful tool to reveal cellular heterogeneity, discover new cell types and characterize tumor microevolution. However, losses in cDNA synthesis and bias in cDNA amplification lead to severe quantitative errors. We show that molecular labels—random sequences that label individual molecules—can nearly eliminate amplification noise, and that microfluidic sample preparation and optimized reagents produce a fivefold improvement in mRNA capture efficiency.
Gene Expression Omnibus
Illumina sequencing experiments were performed by A. Johnsson and A. Juréus (Karolinska Institutet). ES cells were generously provided by the Karolinska Center for Transgene Technologies. Recombinant Tn5 transposase was a generous gift from R. Sandberg (Karolinska Institutet). We are grateful for the advice and support of B. Jones and B. Fowler (Fluidigm). This work was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council (STARGET) and the European Research Council (261063) to S.L. and from the Swedish Cancer Society, Swedish Research Council and Ragnar Söderberg Foundation to M.K.