Cellular barcodes are distinct DNA sequences that enable one to track specific cells across time or space. Recent advances in our ability to detect natural or synthetic cellular barcodes, paired with single-cell readouts of cell state, have markedly increased our knowledge of clonal dynamics and genealogies of the cells that compose a variety of tissues and organs. These advances hold promise to redefine our view of human disease. Here, we provide an overview of cellular barcoding approaches, discuss applications to gain new insights into disease mechanisms, and provide an outlook on future applications. We discuss unanticipated insights gained through barcoding in studies of cancer and blood cell production and describe how barcoding can be applied to a growing array of medical fields, particularly with the increasing recognition of clonal contributions in human diseases.

Related Faculty

Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

Search Menu