The NIH has added requirements for all grant holders to authenticate key biological or chemical resources.  (  This includes authenticating any cell lines that you may use in the research.  Many journals are also now requiring this.  Cell line misidentification has been an ongoing problem in science for many years.  Two surveys estimate cell line contamination to be between 20-36%.

  • (Cell Line Misidentification: the beginning of the end, Nature Reviews Cancer 10 (2010) doi:10.1038/nrc2852)
  • Horbach SPJM, Halffman W (2017) The ghosts of HeLa: How cell line misidentification contaminates the scientific literature. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0186281.


We here at the DNA Sequencing Core want to be sure our customers are able to publish not only correct data, but in any journal they would like.  Therefore we have introduced a cell line authentication service.  We offer testing at 24 loci to determine the genotype of your cell line with certainty.  The current standard is 8-10 loci per cell line.  Although this is theoretically sufficient to separate different cell lines, it is not necessarily sufficient if the cell lines are related.  For example, we did initial testing of Jurkat and JLAT cell lines.  These two cell lines were identical across 20 loci (including the standard 8-10 currently used), but differed at 4 loci.  JLAT cells are derived from Jurkat cells.  Understanding how closely related these two cell lines are illustrates the importance of being able to test at 24 loci instead of the current 8-10 loci standard.


No database currently exists that contains all 24 loci, so initially matching of more than 8-10 loci will be difficult.  We recognize this is a problem and have, therefore, joined with ABRF to test cell lines obtained directly from cell line providers across the 24 loci we test for.  This data will be entered into a database that we will house here at the University of Utah, but which will be publicly available for any researcher wishing to access it.  This database will be small to begin with, but will continue to grow as we are able to test more and more cell lines.


We invite you to contact us to submit your samples for this service.  Runs will initially be once a week and we will consider adding more runs as necessary.  Initial pricing will be as follows:

University of Utah External Academic Commercial
$60/cell line $91.50 $120


Sample submission is extracted DNA minimum 10uL at 10ng/uL per sample in a 1.5mL tube.
The runs are done on a as needed basis right now but not usually more than once a week.

For more information, feel free to read more on Cell Line Authentication from the manufacturer of the kit we use.