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Phiclust: A clusterability measure for single-cell transcriptomics reveals phenotypic subpopulations

Maria Mircea; Mazène Hochane; Xueying Fan; Susana M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes; Diego Garlaschelli; Stefan Semrau

The ability to discover new cell phenotypes by unsupervised clustering of single-cell transcriptomes has revolutionized biology. Currently, there is no principled way to decide whether a cluster of cells contains meaningful subpopulations that should be further resolved. Here we present phiclust, a clusterability measure derived from random matrix theory, that can be used to identify cell clusters with non-random substructure, testably leading to the discovery of previously overlooked phenotypes.

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