Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

With new 'shuffling' trick, researchers can measure gene activity in single cells

For biologists, a single cell is a world of its own: It can form a harmonious part of a tissue, or go rogue and take on a diseased state, like cancer. But biologists have long struggled to identify and track the many different types of cells hiding within tissues. Researchers have developed a new method to classify and track the multitude of cells in a tissue sample. In a paper published March 15, the team reports that this new approach -- known as SPLiT-seq -- reliably tracks gene activity in a tissue down to the level of single cells. SPLiT-seq -- which stands for Split Pool Ligation-based Transcriptome sequencing -- combines a traditional approach to measuring gene expression with a new twist. For more than a decade, scientists have measured gene expression in tissues by sequencing the genetic "letters" of RNA, the DNA-like molecule that is the first step in gene expression. This standard approach -- known as RNA-sequencing -- profiles RNA across the whole tissue. But this approach does not tell researchers how cells within the tissue differ from one another. Single-cell RNA-sequencing addresses this by sequencing RNA from isolated cells, but existing methods are costly and do not scale well. SPLiT-seq makes it possible to perform single-cell RNA-sequencing without ever isolating individual cells. SPLiT-seq can deliver this rich array of biological data at a cost of "just a penny per cell." This is a significantly lower cost than other single-cell RNA sequencing approaches, according to the researchers.

Visit Website | Image credit: Georg Seelig/University of Washington