Are your results valid? Cellular authentication a need from the past, an emergency on the present

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2017 May;53(5):430-434. doi: 10.1007/s11626-016-0124-z. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


The cultures of immortalized cells have been established in the 50s and become popular as a biological model for in vitro assays. The success and popularization brought side effects. Still, in the 60 years emerge the first cases of misidentification/contamination of cell line. Because of that, the scientific community has been oriented to authenticate their lines before performing assays. The use of cells with incorrect identification or contamination has been identified as responsible for an increasing number of unmatched results and a waste of resources. For this reason, we implemented the Cell Line Authentication Service at Brazilian Metrology Institute (Inmetro), open to Brazilian scientific community and society in general. From 2012 to 2014 were conducted 111 cell line authentication test, of which 13.8% had some problem. Here are the description and discussion of these data and simple guidelines to minimize the risk of contamination and misidentification, and invite the scientific community to maintain an alert system to avoid spending unnecessary resources and produce unreliable data.

Keywords: Cell line; Cell lineage; STR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line / classification
  • Cell Line / cytology*
  • DNA Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*