In Science this week, a team from biotech firm Cellular Research report on a new technique for reconstructing gene expression in thousands of cells individually, all without the need for robotics or automation. By loading plastic beads with cell- and molecular-barcoding capture probes, the researchers were able to uniquely label transcripts and reconstruct the digital gene expression profile of thousands of individual cells in a single experiment. To demonstrate the approach, they applied it to dissect the human hematopoietic system and to characterize heterogeneous response to in vitro stimulation. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.
Also in Science, researchers from various institutes publish letters commenting on a recent study out of Johns Hopkins that suggested cancer risk in various human tissues is explained by the number of stem cell divisions in a particular tissue. In the letters, some of the scientists take issue with the use of the term "bad luck" in the original study and express concerns that the paper drew misleading conclusions, and more. The Johns Hopkins team responds to each letter and defends their use of the term.