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A complete cell atlas and lineage tree of the immortal flatworm

The research team was able to create a detailed cell atlas of the flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. © Salah Ayoub, BIMSB/MDC and Jordi Solana, BIMSB/MDC

Scientists from the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine (MDC) together with researchers from ICB published a comprehensive lineage tree of a whole animal in 'Science'.

By combining single-cell RNA technology with nucleic acid sequencing and computer-based analysis methods, the research team from Berlin and Munich created a detailed cell atlas of a complex adult organism, the flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea, and reconstructed a comprehensive lineage tree of the identified cells.

For more information, see the press release by the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the press release by MDC, the original publication Plass, M. et al. (2018): Cell type atlas and lineage tree of a whole complex animal by single-cell transcriptomics. Science, DOI:10.1126/scienc.aaq1723, and the methods paper Wolf, A. et al. (2018): Graph abstraction reconciles clustering with trajectory inference through a topology preserving map of single cells. DOI:

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