Tumors harbor multiple cell types that are thought to play a role in the development of resistance to drug treatments. Tirosh et al. used single-cell sequencing to investigate the distribution of these differing genetic profiles within melanomas. Many cells harbored heterogeneous genetic programs that reflected two different states of genetic expression, one of which was linked to resistance development. Following drug treatment, the resistance-linked expression state was found at a much higher level. Furthermore, the environment of the melanoma cells affected their gene expression programs.