Functional single cell sequencing or FUNseq enables the direct linking of cellular phenotypes to their driving genotypes at the single cell level. In the context of single cell sequencing, this enables enrichment of the sample, but the real revolution comes with the microscopic identification of a broad palette of cancer-driving phenotypes which can now be directly linked to their causative molecular biology. “In this paper we show the fundamental technique that we use,” Miao-Ping Chien explains. “Through real-time behavioral analysis of a large number of cells, we can identify the outliers showing aggressive behaviors. Those we can pick up and sequence to understand the molecular pathways driving the specific phenotype of those aggressive cells”. The paper shows proof-of-principle experiments identifying various types of anomalous cellular and intracellular dynamics as phenotypes of interest, for which driving genotypes have now been discovered. Daan Brinks: “We can now use the technique to identify biomarkers and druggable targets from cancer biopsies.” Miao-Ping: “I’m very excited about our new possibilities. We are continuously expanding the number of phenotypes we can detect and use for our analysis, and are looking forward to using the technology in diagnosis, biomarker development and drug screens.”
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