Scientific article

Dec 10 2021

A human cell atlas of fetal gene expression

The gene expression program underlying the specification of human cell types is of fundamental interest. We generated human cell atlases of gene expression and chromatin accessibility in fetal tissues. For gene expression, we applied three-level combinatorial indexing to >110 samples representing 15 organs, profiling ~4 million single cells.

We leveraged the literature and other atlases to identify and annotate hundreds of cell types and subtypes, both within and across tissues. Our analyses focus on organ-specific specializations of broadly distributed cell types (e.g., blood, endothelial, epithelial), sites of fetal erythropoiesis (which surprisingly included the adrenal gland) and integration with mouse developmental atlases (e.g., conserved specification of blood cells).

These data comprise a rich resource for the exploration of in vivo human gene expression in diverse tissues and cell types.


Cao, Junyue, et al. "A human cell atlas of fetal gene expression." Science 370.6518 (2020).