AAT Bioquest

What are the techniques of cell sorting?

Posted May 24, 2023


Cell sorting techniques can be broadly separated into two general categories – bulk sorting and single cell sorting. 

Bulk sorting

Bulk sorting includes techniques such as filtration, centrifugation, and magnetic cell sorting. These techniques rely primarily on cell characteristics such as size and density, resulting in enriched, slightly heterogeneous cell populations. In bulk sorting, all of the target cells are collected together in one sweep. 

Single cell sorting

Single cell sorting involves one primary technique, flow cytometry, also known as fluorescence activated cell sorting. This technique is based on intracellular and extracellular properties, enabling researchers to better understand cellular properties that may be non-evident or hidden. The process results in highly enriched cell populations that are more homogenous than compared to bulk sorting methods. In single cell sorting, every cell is analyzed individually. 

Additional resources

General concepts about cell sorting techniques

Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

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