Whole-organism eqtl mapping at cellular resolution with single-cell sequencing

Eyal Ben-David*, James Boocock, Longhua Guo, Stefan Zdraljevic, Joshua S. Bloom*, Leonid Kruglyak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Genetic regulation of gene expression underlies variation in disease risk and other complex traits. The effect of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) varies across cell types; however, the complexity of mammalian tissues makes studying cell-type eQTLs highly challenging. We developed a novel approach in the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that uses single cell RNA sequencing to map eQTLs at cellular resolution in a single one-pot experiment. We mapped eQTLs across cell types in an extremely large population of genetically distinct C. elegans individuals. We found cell-type-specific trans-eQTL hotspots that affect the expression of core pathways in the relevant cell types. Finally, we found single-cell-specific eQTL effects in the nervous system, including an eQTL with opposite effects in two individual neurons. Our results show that eQTL effects can be specific down to the level of single cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere65857
StatePublished - 18 Mar 2021

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