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Cell Authentication Matters

“Evidence suggests that up to one-third of tumor cell lines being used in scientific research are affected by inter- or intraspecies cross-contamination or have been wrongly identified, thereby rendering many of the conclusions doubtful if not completely invalid.” — Lancet Oncology, vol. 2, July 2001, p. 393

Cell lines from ATCC have been thoroughly tested and authenticated, so you can be certain of their identity. If, however, your cells come from a less than reliable source or if they’ve been sharing an incubator with other cell lines for a while, it may be time to perform an identity check.

 Authentication graph

ATCC uses morphology, karyotyping, and PCR based approaches to confirm the identity of human cell lines and to rule out both intra- and interspecies contamination. These include an assay to detect species specific variants of the cytochrome C oxidase I gene (COI analysis) to rule out inter-species contamination and short tandem repeat (STR) profiling to distinguish between individual human cell lines and rule out intra-species contamination.


Check out the resources listed below for more information about why cell line authentication matters.

STR Profiling Services

For over 30 years, ATCC has been the leader in utilizing STR technology and human STR data interpretation. We have an easy 3-step process for STR analysis.

  • ISO/IEC 17025:2005 certified process for STR authentication
  • STR report that meets requirements for funding, publication, & quality control
  • Results emailed to you within 3-5 business days