Even among genetically homogenous populations, transcriptional “noise” can lead to very distinct phenotypes. Chang et al. examined stem cells and noted that outlier cells with distinct transcriptomes arose in clonal populations of stem cells, though they eventually returned to normal phenotypes. The authors argue that the various subpopulations are stable states accessed through transcriptional noise. Such population differences may drive cell fate decisions and give rise to persister cells responsible for antibiotic resistance. -SDL
Chang, H. et al. 2008.
Transcriptome-wide noise controls lineage choice in mammalian progenitor cells. Nature. 453, 544-547. doi:10.1038/nature06965