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Single-Cell Total Transcript Amplification Technology

01 November 2011


Several million people worldwide die annually from infectious diseases caused by bacteria. A research team, led by Dr. Tung T. Hoang of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, in collaboration with scientists at the J. Craig Venter Research Institute, has made a significant breakthrough in developing a novel technology to investigate global gene-expression in a single bacterium. Dr. Yun Kang (pictured), a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Hoang’s laboratory, contributed significantly to this work, which was published recently in Genome Research (2011;21:925-935), a premier international genome journal.

An independent analysis of this single-cell total transcript amplification technology, published in Nature Reviews in Microbiology (2011;9:701), stated “This month, Genome Watch describes a new technique for single-cell transcriptomics that will allow the measurement of variations in transcript levels within a population. Microbial transcriptomics has undergone at least two revolutions in recent years, as first microarrays and then RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) allowed the transcripts in cells to be catalogued at a global level. Now a third revolution, single-cell transcriptomics, promises to reveal the true heterogeneity of transcript levels between individual cells in a population.” This powerful technology promises the development of novel vaccines and treatments to more effectively combat bacterial infections.

A provisional patent has been filed for this new technology. The research team plans to license this single-cell transcriptomic technology to biotechnology companies, such that an easy-use kit can be developed for laboratories worldwide.