CLASTR: The Cellosaurus STR similarity search tool - A precious help for cell line authentication

Int J Cancer. 2020 Mar 1;146(5):1299-1306. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32639. Epub 2019 Oct 4.


Despite an increased awareness of the problematic of cell line cross-contamination and misidentification, it remains nowadays a major source of erroneous experimental results in biomedical research. To prevent it, researchers are expected to frequently test the authenticity of the cell lines they are working on. STR profiling was selected as the international reference method to perform cell line authentication. While the experimental protocols and manipulations for generating a STR profile are well described, the available tools and workflows to analyze such data are lacking. The Cellosaurus knowledge resource aimed to improve the situation by compiling all the publicly available STR profiles from the literature and other databases. As a result, it grew to become the largest database in terms of human STR profiles, with 6,474 distinct cell lines having an associated STR profile (release July 31, 2019). Here we present CLASTR, the Cellosaurus STR similarity search tool enabling users to compare one or more STR profiles with those available in the Cellosaurus cell line knowledge resource. It aims to help researchers in the process of cell line authentication by providing numerous functionalities. The tool is publicly accessible on the SIB ExPASy server ( and its source code is available on GitHub under the GPL-3.0 license.

Keywords: STR profiling; authentication; cell culture; cell lines; contamination; misidentification.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line Authentication / methods*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Data Mining / methods*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Software


  • Biomarkers