Two young researchers on both sides of the Atlantic coordinated the collection and processing of all the data: Jasper Janssens, a nearly graduate doctoral student in the Ayers lab at VIB and KU Leuven, and Hongjie Li, now an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. But until recently he was a researcher at Luo’s lab at Stanford.
“We wanted to create a complete cell atlas of the adult fruit fly,” says Hongjie Li. “In this way, we will be able to obtain a comprehensive classification of cell types, compare our new data with existing knowledge and also collect many new data. Moreover, we can now systematically compare gene expression between males for the first time.” — and female flies throughout the organism, where we found interesting differences in the fly’s kidneys.”
The team followed two complementary strategies to achieve its goal, adds Jasper Janssens: “We measured each organ individually, so we knew what results came from which tissue, but we also used the whole head and body to get it. To make sure we wouldn’t ‘miss a single cell’.”
the result is fruit fly tabula – named after Drosophila melanogaster, the Latin name for the fruit fly. The data set contains more than 580,000 cells, which can be reduced to more than 250 different cell types. “Many of these cell types were characterized for the first time in our study,” Janssens said. “In addition, there are also many unknown cell types that will form the basis for future studies.”
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