AAT Bioquest

What are the general categories of cell sorting techniques?

Posted May 24, 2023


The general categories of cell sorting techniques are Bulk Sorting and Single Cell Sorting. 

Bulk sorting

Bulk sorting techniques sort cells based on their characteristics such as size, shape, and density. This results in enriched, moderately heterogeneous cell populations. 

Centrifugation, filtration, and magnetic cell division are examples of bulk sorting techniques. In all of these techniques, all the target cells are collected together in a single pass.

Single cell sorting

Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS), also known as flow cytometry, is the primary technique associated with single cell sorting. In this cell sorting technique, each cell is analyzed separately. Intracellular and extracellular properties are used as the basis for sorting cells. The result is highly enriched, more homogenous cell populations that give researchers better insight into those cellular properties that may not be immediately apparent or visible.

Additional resources

General concepts about cell sorting techniques

Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

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