The single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology helps researchers to discover unexpected discoveries in the field of genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics. The study of cells at the individual level enables high-resolution evaluation of cell-to-cell variation, which was not possible through the bulk sampling methods. The technology has dramatically advanced, allowing its usage on a wider scale.
The scRNA-seq assists in studying complex and rare population samples that can help in tracking distinct cell lineages that allows to find out the regulatory relationship between the genes. Such studies are crucial to the advancement of the various applied field of medicine like immunology, vaccinology, oncology, neurology, and embryology.
On the other hand, bulk ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing studies the total quantity of RNA in the sample by using next-generation sequencing (NGS). It conducts transcriptome analysis and indicates the on and off genes encoded in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
According to the BIS research report, the global single-cell RNA sequencing market is anticipated to reach a value of $2.93 billion in 2031 from $386.7 million in 2020, witnessing a CAGR of 17.08% during the forecast period 2021-2031.
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The market growth of scRNA-seq is driven by various factors. According to the BIS research report, the major growth drivers of the sequencing market are:
1. The rising applications in cancer studies and treatment: The scRNA-seq technology has been widely used to study cell biology and pathogenetic mechanisms for cancer research. It explores the heterogeneity in tumor cells and monitors the progression of tumor development, thus preventing the deterioration of the cell any further. This research has great significance in the advancement of targeted therapy and immunotherapy
2. Increasing awareness and acceptance of personalized diagnostics at the global level: With rising health concerns and an increasing number of deadly diseases, there is a surge in the research as well as acceptance of the advanced treatments. Personalized diagnosis is the process of finding more effective treatment through the study of cells of an individual.
This is also known as precision medicine; it causes fewer side effects, and show shows better results. Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) in the U.S. was initiated in 2016, and several other programs by various countries have led to increasing awareness among the global population for personalized diagnostic.
3. Decreasing cost of sequencing: scRNA-seq has become an indispensable tool for biological research. With advanced technology, single-cell sequencing proves to be more cost-effective than other NGS techniques. As per the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the overall cost for sequencing a human genome reduced from $4000 in 2015 to $600 in 2020.
4. Increasing government funding for healthcare: Governments all over the world are making efforts to improve the healthcare system, especially in the research segment. According to the BIS research report, North America represented one of the most lucrative markets amongst others for scRNA-seq in 2020.
However, Europe is anticipated to gain more growth in the coming years, which can be attributed to many emerging biotechnology-based firms present in the region. India is expected to be the fastest-growing nations globally, with growing affordability and awareness in the region.
1. Computational challenges of data analysis of scRNA sequencing: The vast amount of research in single-cell sequencing has led to the demand for handling the data through computational methods.
Factors such as bulk samples, relatively small number of sequencing reads, sparsity of data, and cell population heterogeneity, create great challenges in effectively analyzing the data. To overcome these challenges, highly advanced bioinformatics tools are required to gain quality insights from the data generated.
2. High capital requirement: ScRNAseq requires highly advanced technology for high-resolution data. This requires large capital investment for the development of advanced platforms for the integration of data for comprehensive testing.
Though the global single-cell RNA sequencing market possesses great potential, the high capital investment requirement is hampering the expansion of global reach, thereby challenging the growth of the single-cell RNA sequencing market globally.
3. Lack of infrastructure and expertise: According to the BIS research market report, the currently available infrastructure requires more capital investment to establish high-quality platforms for modern genome testing and advanced comprehensive research.
For instance, advanced automation is important to support complex genomic testing processes. This also requires high test volume, which is not currently available at research institutions.
1. Expansion in emerging markets: Currently, most key market players in scRNA-seq solutions are based in developed markets. Emerging economies such as India, China, Australia, and countries in the Middle East and Africa possess huge potential for the market. The population in the emerging economies is at high risk of chronic diseases, creating a great opportunity for the expansion of the precision medicine market.
2. Expansion in application: The current applications of scRNA-seq include research in cancer, neurodegenerative disease, stem cell biology, and microbiology. With the increasing advancements in the field, the scope of applications of single-cell sequencing technology is immense in areas such as forensic research, in-vitro fertilization, single-cell analysis in microbes, and plants.
3. Expansion in product portfolio: With increasing research and application of scRNA-seq across the globe, the industry is moving toward the development of innovations and techniques to overcome the current challenges. Key players in the market are constantly innovating new products.
For instance, the development of imaging solutions and bioinformatics tools for the high throughput analysis of the data offers a great opportunity to the established players as well as the new entrants in the market.
To conclude, single-cell RNA sequencing is a breakthrough technology in the study of genomics. With increasing applications, investments, and market opportunities, the industry is expected to grow immensely and expand the growth of healthcare in the future.
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