The definition of cell identity is a central problem in biology. While single-cell RNA-seq provides a wealth of information regarding cell states, better methods are needed to map their identity, especially during developmental transitions. Here, we use repositories of cell type-specific transcriptomes to quantify identities from single-cell RNA-seq profiles, accurately classifying cells from Arabidopsis root tips and human glioblastoma tumors. We apply our approach to single cells captured from regenerating roots following tip excision. Our technique exposes a previously uncharacterized transient collapse of identity distant from the injury site, demonstrating the biological relevance of a quantitative cell identity index.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Cell Biology