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Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

The peculiar function and fate of a population's individual cell can often be determined by individual cell heterogeneity. Traditional cell-based assays primarily examine the mean responses from a population of cells without taking into account the phenotypes of individual cells. Scientists must employ single cell studies to provide more specific information for treatment decision making in precision medicine in order to better comprehend the changes from cell to cell. Capture and isolation of single cells are prerequisites for understanding these cellular variations. However, efficient single cell capture and isolation are complex tasks for any cell population. Therefore, many technologies for single cell capture and isolation have been developed. Creative Biolabs offers efficient and detailed support to bring automation to your application workflows. Our Single Cell Sorting and Isolation Platform can provide highly customized comprehensive solutions with the best quality to advance our global clients' projects.

Overview of single-cell isolations technologies.Fig.1 Overview of single-cell isolations technologies. (Hu, 2016)

Using FACS to Isolate Single Cells.

Single cells can be achieved by flow sorting using FACS, either using cell-type-specific markers for a biased, targeted sample or using cells' light-scattering properties to obtain an unbiased sample.

The main advantages of FACS-based sorting are the ability to choose between biased and unbiased isolation, high levels of accuracy, and high-throughput single-cell isolation. However, FACS requires many cells in suspension as starting material, which might affect the yield concerning low-abundance cell subpopulations. In addition, the rapid flow in the machine might damage the cells, and care must be taken to ensure the viability of the collected cells if live cells are necessary for downstream protocols.

Schematic of FACS.Fig. 2 Schematic of FACS. (Hu, 2016)

Advantages of FACS in Single Cell Isolation

  • Modern FACS machines provide fluorescent readout in up to 18 color channels and up to 6 colored lasers for excitation.
  • Modern FACS machines have a flow rate of approximately 3000 cells/s.
  • Modern FACS machines have a purity level of no less than 98%.

Any requirements, please feel free to contact us for further communication about your project.


  1. Hu, P.; et al. Single cell isolation and analysis. Frontiers in Cell and Development Biology. 2016, 4: 116.
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