Identity control

Access to large numbers of cell lines means that general cell repositories are uniquely motivated and positioned to develop authentication procedures. Recent advances in genetics, notably in forensic DNA typing and molecular cytogenetics, have lent new impetus to the cell line authentication of human cell lines.

Using a combination of molecular genetic methods, scientists at the DSMZ have shown that the incidence of misidentified cell lines, first highlighted by Walter Nelson-Rees in the `seventies remains rife. New false cell lines continue to be established while previously discredited examples persist. At the same time, detection of false cell lines is rendered increasingly difficult as numbers and varieties of circulating cell lines increase. The problem was exacerbated until recently by the refusal of scientific journals and funding bodies to mandate use of authenticated cell lines.
The majority of the cell-culture-community now accepts cell line cross contamination (CLCC) as a serious problem in cell culture. CLCC usually involves the seeding of fledgling "new" cell line cultures by faster growing established cell lines. According to the tenets of good laboratory practice, the freedom from cross-contamination and its authenticity should be irrevocable prerequisites for any application involving cell lines.

Species identification of animal cell lines.

The DNA fingerprinting may be applied to authenticate and individualize human lines. However for animal cell lines, the lack of genetic variation especially in inbred rodent strains allows an identity control only at the level of the species. In the past, species identification of animal cell lines was quite laborious, applying combination of different methods. By now, either species-specific PCR assays may confirm a presumptive species or sequencing of (amplified) mitochondrial DNA led to identification of almost all vertebrate species . More

Authentication of cell lines.

Cell line cross contamination affects a minimum 18% newly established human tumor cell lines. Hence, it is crucial for cell banks to authenticate all cell lines, both incoming and later cultures, for which STR-DNA typing is now the first line method of choice. More