Human Cell Line Authentication Services

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The use of contaminated cell lines is an often under-recognized issue in research today. Since the 1950's, the identification of contaminated cell lines has been documented. General surveys of cell lines in the past few decades have identified as many as 14 - 35% of cell lines being contaminated or mis-identified1. The NIH has issued a notice discussing the importance for cell line authentication in future research2. A growing number of Journals are likewise requiring cell line authentication prior to publication.

The DNA Core Facility (DNACF) has established a human cell line authentication service to assist researchers in meeting these requirements. Short tandem repeat (STR) analysis will be performed by the PCR amplification of genomic DNA with the AmpFLSTR® Identifiler® Plus PCR Amplification Kit. The STR multiplex assay amplifies 15 tetranucleotide repeat loci and the Amelogenin gender-determining marker in a single PCR reaction. The assay as applied to human cell line authentication using STR profiling will allow, 1) verification of human origin; 2) evaluation of profile consistency across cell lines; 3) database comparisons; and 4) detection of human cell cross-contamination. The DNACF's protocols for cell line authentication are in agreement with standards set forth by the ATCC Standards Development Organization in their publication "Authentication of Human Cell Lines: Standardization of STR Profiling" (ANSI/ATCC-0002-2011).

General practices for testing cell lines are:

  • Test cell lines when established or newly acquired.
  • Test cell at the beginning of new experiments and before publication.
  • Cell line performance is inconsistent or unexpected results are obtained.
  • Cells should be tested before freezing and every two months while actively growing.

Contact the DNA Core for additional information.

Single Cell Line Submission                $85.00/sample

Review DNA Core Policies for a complete description of all core policies relating to services and billing. Contact the DNACF for external rates.

Submission Guidelines

Extracted DNA is to be submitted in a 1.5ml tube. DNA should be at a concentration of 50ng/ul in a minimum of 10ul.

Samples are to be submitted with a Cell Line Authorization Form.


The DNACF will provide a cell line authentication report that includes a STR profile table. The raw electropherogram files (.fsa) will also be provided.