PieParty: visualizing cells from scRNA-seq data as pie charts

Stefan Kurtenbach, James J. Dollar, Anthony M. Cruz, Michael A. Durante, Christina L. Decatur, J. William Harbour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) has been a transformative technology in many research fields. Dimensional reduction techniques such as UMAP and tSNE are used to visualize scRNA-seq data in two or three dimensions for cells to be clustered in biologically meaningful ways. Subsequently, gene expression is frequently mapped onto these plots to show the distribution of gene expression across the plots, for instance to distinguish cell types. However, plotting each cell with only a single color leads to repetitive and unintuitive representations. Here, we present PieParty, which allows scRNA-seq data to be plotted such that every cell is represented as a pie chart, and every slice in the pie charts corresponds to the gene expression of a single gene. This allows for the simultaneous visualization of the expression of multiple genes and gene networks. The resulting figures are information dense, space efficient, and highly intuitive. PieParty is publicly available on GitHub at https://github.com/harbourlab/PieParty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLife Science Alliance
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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