Cell culture has an important role in the study of biology and medicine, but an increasing amount of evidence shows cell lines are frequently misidentified or contaminated. Human cell line misidentification is a common, costly problem in the research community. It typically occurs as a result of contamination in a laboratory that is manipulating several different cell lines, or due to labeling errors. Consequences include wasted time and publication of erroneous data.
Many journals now recommend or require authentication of cell line identity before accepting manuscripts for publication. The NIH announced that, as of January 2016, applicants for grants will be required to authenticate key biological resources, including cells. Short Tandem Repeat (STR) genotyping analysis is a proven technology for uniquely identifying human cell lines and is the recommended method for identification of human tissue culture cell lines by the ATCC Standards Development Organization (ASN-0002; Authentication of Human Cell Lines: Standardization of STR Profiling).
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Martin Ensenberger, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
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