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Cell line misidentification: the beginning of the end

Abstract

Cell lines are used extensively in research and drug development as models of normal and cancer tissues. However, a substantial proportion of cell lines is mislabelled or replaced by cells derived from a different individual, tissue or species. The scientific community has failed to tackle this problem and consequently thousands of misleading and potentially erroneous papers have been published using cell lines that are incorrectly identified. Recent efforts to develop a standard for the authentication of human cell lines using short tandem repeat profiling is an important step to eradicate this problem.

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Figure 1: Pioneers of awareness of cell line misidentification.
Figure 2: Citations of T24 bladder cancer cells referred to as normal endothelial cells.
Figure 3: Short tandem repeat profiling methodology.

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Competing interests

Rita Barallon (LGC), Manohar Furtado (Applied Biosystems), Jaiprakash Shewale (Life Technologies) Douglas Storts (Promega Corporation) and Jim Thomson (LGC) work for organizations that provide reagents for or undertake cell line authentication using STR profiling. Manohar Furtado is a shareholder in Applied Biosystems.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information 1 (Table)

Attributes of human cell line identification technologies (PDF 175 kb)

Supplementary information 2 (Box)

Advantages of short tandem repeat (STR) profiling for authentication of human cell lines (PDF 167 kb)

Supplementary information 3 (Box)

Quality control of short tandem repeat (STR) analysis (PDF 172 kb)

Supplementary information 4 (Table)

Estimates of power of discrimination of short tandem repeat (STR) profiling using different numbers of loci. (PDF 159 kb)

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ATCC SDO homepage

ATCC cell bank

DSMZ cell culture collection

ECACC cell culture collection

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American Type Culture Collection Standards Development Organization Workgroup ASN-0002. Cell line misidentification: the beginning of the end. Nat Rev Cancer 10, 441–448 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc2852

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