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The Human Cell Atlas

Aviv Regev, Sarah A Teichmann, Eric S Lander, Ido Amit, Christophe Benoist, Ewan Birney, Bernd Bodenmiller, Peter Campbell, Piero Carninci, Menna Clatworthy, Hans Clevers, Bart Deplancke, Ian Dunham, James Eberwine, Roland Eils, Wolfgang Enard, Andrew Farmer, Lars Fugger, Berthold Göttgens, Nir Hacohen, Muzlifah Haniffa, Martin Hemberg, Seung Kim, Paul Klenerman, Arnold Kriegstein, Ed Lein, Sten Linnarsson, Emma Lundberg, Joakim Lundeberg, Partha Majumder, John C Marioni, Miriam Merad, Musa Mhlanga, Martijn Nawijn, Mihai Netea, Garry Nolan, Dana Pe'er, Anthony Phillipakis, Chris P Ponting, Stephen Quake, Wolf Reik, Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen, Joshua Sanes, Rahul Satija, Ton N Schumacher, Alex Shalek, Ehud Shapiro, Padmanee Sharma, Jay W Shin, Oliver Stegle, Michael Stratton, Michael J T Stubbington, Fabian J Theis, Matthias Uhlen, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Allon Wagner, Fiona Watt, Jonathan Weissman, Barbara Wold, Ramnik Xavier, Nir Yosef,

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The recent advent of methods for high-throughput single-cell molecular profiling has catalyzed a growing sense in the scientific community that the time is ripe to complete the 150-year-old effort to identify all cell types in the human body. The Human Cell Atlas Project is an international collaborative effort that aims to define all human cell types in terms of distinctive molecular profiles (such as gene expression profiles) and to connect this information with classical cellular descriptions (such as location and morphology). An open comprehensive reference map of the molecular state of cells in healthy human tissues would propel the systematic study of physiological states, developmental trajectories, regulatory circuitry and interactions of cells, and also provide a framework for understanding cellular dysregulation in human disease. Here we describe the idea, its potential utility, early proofs-of-concept, and some design considerations for the Human Cell Atlas, including a commitment to open data, code, and community.