Cell line fingerprinting using retroelement insertion polymorphism

Biotechniques. 2005 Apr;38(4):561-5. doi: 10.2144/05384ST02.


Human cell lines are an indispensable tool for functional studies of living entities in their numerous manifestations starting with integral complex systems such as signal pathways and networks, regulation of gene ensembles, epigenetic factors, and finishing with pathological changes and impact of artificially introduced elements, such as various transgenes, on the behavior of the cell. Therefore, it is highly desirable to have reliable cell line identification techniques to make sure that the cell lines to be used in experiments are exactly what is expected. To this end, we developed a set of informative markers based on insertion polymorphism of human retroelements (REs). The set includes 47 pairs of PCR primers corresponding to introns of the human genes with dimorphic LINE1 (L1) and Alu insertions. Using locus-specific PCR assays, we have genotyped 10 human cell lines of various origins. For each of these cell lines, characteristic fingerprints were obtained. An estimated probability that two different cell lines possess the same marker genotype is about 10-18. Therefore, the proposed set of markers provides a reliable tool for cell line identification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Technical Report

MeSH terms

  • Alu Elements
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Markers
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Retroelements*


  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Markers
  • Retroelements