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Optimal design of single-cell RNA sequencing experiments for cell-type-specific eQTL analysis

By Igor Mandric, Tommer Schwarz, Arunabha Majumdar, Richard Perez, Meena Subramaniam, Chun Jimmie Ye, Bogdan Pasaniuc, Eran Halperin

Posted 12 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/766972

Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-Seq) is a compelling approach to simultaneously measure cellular composition and state which is impossible with bulk profiling approaches. However, it has not yet become a widely used tool in population-scale analyses, due to its prohibitively high cost. Here we show that given the same budget, the statistical power of cell-type-specific expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping can be increased through low-coverage per-cell sequencing of more samples rather than high-coverage sequencing of fewer samples. We also show that multiple experimental designs with different numbers of samples, cells per sample and reads per cell could have similar statistical power, and choosing an appropriate design can yield large cost savings especially when multiplexed workflows are considered. Finally, we provide a practical approach on selecting cost-effective designs for maximizing cell-type-specific eQTL power.

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