Installing Randomly

  • Randomly only works with Python 3 (not Python 2), so be sure that your notebook is using a Python 3 kernel. The easiest way to install randomly is via the command line with pip:
$ pip install randomly
  • Now we can import the package in our python notebook:
>>> import randomly

Loading the Data

  • As an example, we are going to use a dataset of 1459 human pancreas cells from Baron1.
  • Click here to download this sample data set.
  • Unzip the file.
  • To load our data, we use Pandas:
>>> import pandas as pd
>>> df=pd.read_table('example.txt', index_col=0)
  • The input should be a table with cells in rows and genes in columns:
>>> df.shape
(1459, 17287)

Initialization and Preprocessing

Initialization of the model

  • Each time that we want to start or re-start the analysis we have to run:
>>> model = randomly.Rm()

Preprocessing the data

  • This function removes non-desired cells and genes:
    1. We remove all the genes and cells that have less than min_tp transcripts expressed.
    2. We remove cells that express less than min_genes_per_cell genes.
    3. We remove genes that are expressed in less than min_cells_per_cell cells.
>>> model.preprocess(df, min_tp=0, 
Cell names are not unique. Cell names are reset
Run the refining function
Advanced preprocessing
  • If you want to use the advanced feature refined=True (as we have done before) then, as function indicates, you have to run the function model.refining() afterwards:
>>> model.refining(min_trans_per_gene=7)
1459  cells and  11389  genes
  • This function removes sparsity in a more efficient way.
  • The parameter min_trans_per_gene defines a cut-off on genes. In this example, min_trans_per_gene equals 7. This parameter should be choosen such that the total number of remaining genes is bigger than at least 8000. In this example, we leave 11389 genes.

Modeling the data using Random Matrix Theory

Preprocessed data is being used for fitting

Plot of Marchenko-Pastur distribution

>>> model.plot_mp()


Save the plots

If you want to save the plots generated by any of the Randomly functions, you can do it by adding the option path=folder/name.extension, where extension could be: pdf, png, jpg, etc. For example:

>>> model.plot_mp(path='Data/my_marchenko.pdf')

Plot the statstics of signal-like genes

>>> model.plot_statistics()


Get the denoised data

  • You can use the false discovery rate ("fdr") shown in the previous plot to select the genes which are responsible for the signal. In this case, fdr=0.0001 corresponds to 2590 genes:
>>> df2 = model.return_cleaned(fdr=0.0001)
>>> df2.shape
(1459, 2590)
  • Alternatively, you can use the Normalized sample variance (sample_variance) shown in the y-axis of the previous plot. For instance, this allows you to select the top 1100 most signal-like genes. In this case, by selecting sample_variance equals 350, we get 1101 genes:
>>> df2 = model.return_cleaned(sample_variance=350)
>>> df2.shape
(1459, 1101)
Save the denoised data

If you want to save the denoised dataset in your computer, you can do it by adding the option path=folder/name.txt. For example:

>>> df2 = model.return_cleaned(sample_variance=350, path='Data/my_denoised_data.txt')

Visualizing your Denoised System

t-SNE plot for visualization

Once you know the signal-like genes you want to use based on the previous step, Randomly allows you to visualize it using t-SNE:

>>> model.fit_tsne(sample_variance=350)
computing t-SNE, using Multicore t-SNE for 4 jobs
atribute embedding is updated with t-SNE coordinates
>>> model.plot()


Hierarchical clustering

  • Randomly has a function to perform unsupervised hierarchical clustering in the denoised data:
>>> model.fit_hierarchical()
  • By adjusting the threshold thrs, you can select the clusters:
>>> model.visual_hierarchy(thrs=100, value_range=2)


  • And visualize these clusters in the t-SNE:
>>> model.plot(labels=model.labels_hierarchy, legend=True)


K-means clustering

  • Randomly also has a function to perform k-means clustering. The parameter n_clusters selects the number of clusters:
>>> model.fit_kmeans(n_clusters=16)
  • You can visualize the k-means result in the t-SNE:
>>> model.plot(labels=model.labels_kmeans)


Gene expression profile across the clusters

  • Randomly has a function model.get_gene_info() that allows you to analyze your clusters to get biological insight.
  • The function model.get_gene_info() gives the expression profile of a gene or a list of genes across the different clusters. It does this by performing a violin plot and a ridge plot.
  • The colors correspond to the label colors of the clustering methods (hierarchical or k-means) previously described.
  • In following example, we will use the clusters obtained in the hierarchical clustering, using labels=model.labels_hierarchy, to visualize the gene 'INS':
>>> model.get_gene_info(labels=model.labels_hierarchy, gene=['INS'], size=8)



If several genes are used, for example gene=['INS', 'PPY', 'PDFGRA'], then the function gives the average of the genes in the list.

Visualizing the Genes

  • Randomly has a function to visualize the gene expression in the t-SNE:
>>> model.plot(gene=['PPY'], size=4)


or the average of a set of genes:

>>> model.plot(gene=['DDIT3','HSPA5','HERPUD1'], size=4)


  • The same function allows you to visualize a list of individual genes:
>>> model.plot(gene=('PPY','GCG','SST','INS','GHRL','CPA1','KRT19'


Tips and Tricks

Get information about the clustering

The function model.get_cluster_info() gives information about the clusters produced by the methods described previously:

  1. The number of cells.
  2. The 10 (by default) most expressed genes. By using genes = number we can increase the list. For example, genes = 20 will give the top 20 genes.
  3. The function visualizes the genes in the t-SNE.
Here is an example with cluster 1 from the hierarchical clustering we have done before:

>>> model.get_cluster_info(labels=model.labels_hierarchy, cluster=1)
The cluster 1 has 49 cells


The top 10 highly expressed signal-like genes in this cluster are:


Plot the library complexity of the original dataset

>>> model.plot(gene=['library'], size=4)


Add a legend and more

  • You can add a legend to t-SNE plots to identify your cell populations and subpopulations after your analysis.
  • To identify the order of the color code, it is useful to start using legend=True. We already did this when we performed the hierarchical clustering.
  • Once you know the color code, then add the legend list legend=[list of your names]. For example:
>>> my_legend=['Gamma', 'Ductal (CFTR+)', 'Beta', 'Activ.stellate', 'Acinar', 'Stellate (TIMP1+ & CD44+)', 
                    'Quiesc. stellate', 'Ductal (MUC1+ & TFF1+)', 'Macrofage', 'Ductal (CD44+ & CFTR- )', 
                    'Beta stressed', 'Alpha', 'Endothelial', 'Delta']
>>> model.plot(labels=model.labels_hierarchy, legend=my_legend, legendcol=3, size=6, points=7)


  • legendcol sets how many columns you want to plot in the legend.
  • size sets the size of the plot.
  • points sets the size of the points.

You can use the same legend for the get_gene_info() function and get publication-ready plots. For example:

>>> model.get_gene_info(labels=model.labels_hierarchy, gene=['INS'], size=8, legend=my_legend)

MAC OS with retina screen

If you are using a MAC OS with retina display, to increase the quality of your plots you should use this option at the beginning of your script:

>>> %config InlineBackend.figure_format = 'retina'

Using a Different Preprocessing or Normalization

If you want to do custom preprocessing—for example, you don't want to use TPMs (transcripts per million); or you want to select your own genes or your own cells in a different way—you can avoid the preprocessing step and safely jump to The Modeling Section above, using:

>>> = df)


  1. Baron, M. et al. A single-cell transcriptomic map of the human and mouse pancreas reveals inter- and intra-cell population structure. Cell Syst. 3, 346–360.e4 (2016)
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