More specifically, a human cell atlas could:
- catalog all cell types (for example, immune cells, brain cells) and sub-types in the human body;
- map cell types to their location within tissues and within the body;
- distinguish cell states (for example, a naive immune cell that has not yet encountered a pathogen compared to the same immune cell type after it is activated by encountering a bacterium);
- capture the key characteristics of cells during transitions, such as activation or differentiation (for example, from a stem cell); and
- trace the history of cells through a lineage, such as from a predecessor stem cell in bone marrow to a functional red blood cell.