PseudoGA: Cell pseudotime reconstruction based on genetic algorithm

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Nucleic Acids Research


Dynamic regulation of gene expression is often governed by progression through transient cell states. Bulk RNA-seq analysis can only detect average change in expression levels and is unable to identify this dynamics. Single cell RNA-seq presents an unprecedented opportunity that helps in placing the cells on a hypothetical time trajectory that reflects gradual transition of their transcriptomes. This continuum trajectory or 'pseudotime', may reveal the developmental pathway and provide us with information on dynamic transcriptomic changes and other biological processes. Existing approaches to build pseudotime heavily depend on reducing huge dimension to extremely low dimensional subspaces and may lead to loss of information. We propose PseudoGA, a genetic algorithm based approach to order cells assuming that gene expressions vary according to a smooth curve along the pseudotime trajectory. We observe superior accuracy of our method in simulated as well as benchmarking real datasets. Generality of the assumption behind PseudoGA and no dependence on dimensionality reduction technique make it a robust choice for pseudotime estimation from single cell transcriptome data. PseudoGA is also time efficient when applied to a large single cell RNA-seq data and adaptable to parallel computing. R code for PseudoGA is freely available at https://github.com/indranillab/pseudoga.

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Open Access, Gold, Green

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