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Quantitative Cell Science

The Tabula Projects

Reference transcriptomes at single-cell resolution

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Cells are the fundamental unit of life. Building from a single cell, animals develop diverse organs and tissues that allow them to eat, breathe, move, learn, and reproduce. In the human body, for example, more than 70 different organs and tissues encompass more than 30 trillion cells, which individually and collectively perform all the functions essential for life. But how? And what goes wrong at the cellular level to cause disease? What changes as we age?

The CZ Biohub Tabula projects seek to explore these questions by mapping each cell type in whole organisms. The resulting cell atlases, or Tabulae, are essential companions to genomes, as they show which genes are expressed in a given cell and how this expression dictates the specialized functions of the many cell types that make up tissues and organs. They also help us understand what happens over the lifetime of an organism and when things go awry during disease.

These cell atlases are built using two state-of-the-art technologies: single-cell transcriptomics and the computational approaches necessary to analyze sequencing data from millions of reads in hundreds of thousands of cells. The Tabulae are assembled through a highly collaborative effort involving tissue experts, pathologists, cell and molecular biologists, and computational biologists.

While this work continues, CZ Biohub and its collaborators have produced the first whole-organism cell atlases for mice (Tabula Muris); aging mice (Tabula Muris Senis); the mouse lemur, a non-human primate (Tabula Microcebus); the fruit fly (Tabula Drosophilae); and humans (Tabula Sapiens). These rich data sets are providing new insight into evolution, cell physiology, and organismal biology in health and disease.

More than

75,000

users of Tabula web portals

More than

50,000

downloads of published mouse Tabula data sets

More than

1 Million

annotated cells in Tabula projects from human, mouse, fruit fly, and lemur