A new mRNA-seq method developed by researchers at the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm and the Ludwig Cancer Institute, called Smart-Seq, can be used to study single-cell transcriptomics. Working in collaboration with Illumina, the researchers used the method to analyze gene expression in circulating tumor cells, though the Karolinska's Rickard Sandberg says it could be used to study a number of rare cell types.

"This method [makes it] possible for basically anyone to do single-cell transcriptome studies," Sandberg says. "That's to say, both medical or biological questions."

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