Is genomic analysis of single cells about to get a whole lot easier?

Tue, 07/10/2012 - 4:51pm
C1 single-cell analysis system - Fluidigm.

At the disclosure in May the details of the C1 were a little sketchy but the system was planned to take cell suspensions, separate and capture single-cells for nucleic-acid analysis on the Biomark system. The disclosure also hinted at the ability to process single-cells for NGS applications such as transcriptome and copy-number analysis. One rather worrying detail was the fact that the C1 was lumped together with the Biomark and FACS instruments as far as likely cost is concerned.

This means it is probably going to be an expensive instrument, which could limit its uptake. Like many sample prep systems only a few labs will have the capacity to run the box at full tilt. This often makes the investment hard to justify and labs end up sharing systems or using a service.
How does the system work: The C1 will take cells in suspension and isolate 96 single-cells. On the system you will be able to stain and image captured cells to determine what sort of cells are present from your population. Cells are then lysed and you can perform molecular biology on the nucleic acids (mRNA RT and pre-amp for now). Finally nucleic acids are recovered from the inlet wells for further analysis.

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