Misidentification and Cross-Contamination of Cell Lines


Cell cultures are important tools for biomedical research and have been used successfully in diverse fields such as medicine, genetics, drug discovery, vaccine development, reconstructive medicine, basic science, HIV testing and treatment and cell biology. Without doubt, all these, and many more, have progressed using cell culture models. The fact is that cell culture technology, which is not trivial science, is of major importance in biomedical research and technology and, therefore, to all of us. However, its usefulness continues to engage investigators at a pace and frequency that often leads to significant gaps regarding fundamental principles of quality control such as cell line authentication.

This letter has been drafted by a group of leading cell culture scientists and other experts involved in the use of DNA methods for the identification of biological material. This group is seriously concerned about the continued use of misidentified and cross-contaminated cell lines in current biomedical research. We urge you to read this letter, share our concerns and take appropriate action consistent with the responsibility of your office.