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Researchers: How are You Authenticating Your Non-human Cell Lines?

January 25, 2013

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Contact: Jamie Almeida

Many journals now require cell line authentication prior to publication of research results.

Are you ready?

How are you authenticating your non-human cell lines?

Are you confident in the identity of the cell line you're working with?

 Figure 1. Left: Mouse. Right: Proof of mouse cell line.


a picture of a mouse and the data showing that the mouse cell line is authentic


For human cells, researchers have adopted practices that are currently used for human identification, which are based on the detection of short tandem repeat (STR) markers. For the large volume of research that is performed using non-human cell lines (mouse, hamster, monkey, etc.), there are no STR marker assays that are able to uniquely and unequivocally identify a particular cell line.

We found a series of STR markers that uniquely identify and distinguish African green monkey and mouse cell lines. The conditions using multiple labeled primers targeting the STR regions have been optimized, and several widely used cell lines have been genotyped using the assay.  

NIST is currently working on an assay for Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell authentication and encourages any entity that is interested in kit development to contact us.


African green monkey STR markers: Almeida J.L., Hill C.R., and Cole K.D. Authentication of African green monkey cell lines using human short tandem repeat markers. BMC Biotechnology 2011, 11:102.

Mouse STR markers: Submitted for publication. A patent is pending on the mouse primer sequences.