Scientist holding pen standing next to scientist looking into microscope.

Cell Line Authentication Publication Requirements

The problem of cell line misidentification has persisted for over 50 years, highlighting concerns of data integrity and reproducibility among life science researchers. Cell line misidentification, cross-contamination, and genetic drift have resulted in inconsistent or invalidated studies. As such, establishing a human cell line’s identity through Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profiling has become essential in conducting valid, reproducible, impactful research.

In 2015, the NIH released the “Enhancing Reproducibility through Rigor and Transparency” Notice to inform scientists of the revised application instructions for funding grants submitted beginning January 25, 2016.

The notice specifically states:

NIH expects that key biological and/or chemical resources will be regularly authenticated to ensure their identity and validity for use in the proposed studies.

These include, but are not limited to, cell lines, specialty chemicals, antibodies and other biologics.

It is key to be aware of which journals have set guidelines for cell line authentication prior to publication. The following is not a full list, and it is best to read the entire description of the publication guidelines set forth by the authors of each journal.