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BATMAN: Fast and Accurate Integration of Single-Cell RNA-Seq Datasets via Minimum-Weight Matching


Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) is a set of technologies used to profile gene expression at the level of individual cells. Although the throughput of scRNA-seq experiments is steadily growing in terms of the number of cells, large datasets are not yet commonly generated owing to prohibitively high costs. Integrating multiple datasets into one can improve power in scRNA-seq experiments, and efficient integration is very important for downstream analyses such as identifying cell-type-specific eQTLs. State-of-the-art scRNA-seq integration methods are based on the mutual nearest neighbor paradigm and fail to both correct for batch effects and maintain the local structure of the datasets. In this paper, we propose a novel scRNA-seq dataset integration method called BATMAN (BATch integration via minimum-weight MAtchiNg). Across multiple simulations and real datasets, we show that our method significantly outperforms state-of-the-art tools with respect to existing metrics for batch effects by up to 80% while retaining cell-to-cell relationships.

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