Apparent HeLa Cell Contamination of Human Heteroploid Cell Lines


INTERSPECIFIC cell culture contamination has been detected several times by karyotypic and immunological procedures1–3. These same measurements are of little value as detectors of intraspecific contamination, but polymorphic variants detectable at the cell culture level can be very useful for this purpose, A survey of twenty heteroploid human cell lines for glucose-6-phosphate de-hydrogenase (G6PD) and phosphoglucomutase (PGM) electrophoretic polymorphisms revealed that all had the same G6PD and PGM phenotypes. These results were interpreted as reflecting widespread contamination of cultures by the first established human cell line HeLa. These findings were presented at the Second Decennial Review Conference on Cell Tissue and Organ Culture4 and have since been extended to include other American Type Culture Collection lines. Further evidence on the stability of these markers in various conditions has been obtained, and in view of the widespread use of cell lines in a variety of investigations it seems important to make these findings readily accessible to other workers.

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GARTLER, S. Apparent HeLa Cell Contamination of Human Heteroploid Cell Lines. Nature 217, 750–751 (1968).

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