Universal cell type identifier based on number theory

Antonio Cosma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cell type classification and handling is a key issue for understanding biological systems. The advent of high multiplexing technologies increased the complexity of the classification process and new tools are needed to support the organization of this knowledge. I propose a classification based on both prime numbers and the fundamental theorem of arithmetic. As a not limiting example, I show the application of this method to unambiguously define any existing cell type using the CD nomenclature established by the Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens Workshops. This system allows for the unique identification of any possible combination of markers hence any cell population without previous knowledge and without the need to increment the system. This method can be the future basis of any database and ontology system dealing with cell types and beyond the biological field applies to the description of any entity characterized by a list of discrete qualities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-652
Number of pages4
JournalCytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • database
  • ontology
  • primes


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