Dr Caroline Pennington (BBSRC Enterprise Fellow) Gen-Id: Cell Authentication Service
Caroline Pennington was recently awarded a BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship to develop a service to help researchers authenticate the cell lines used in their research. Biological cell lines are a fundamental tool in biological research and increasingly important in the growing field of biomanufacture and stem cell technologies. However the misidentification and cross contamination of these cultures remains an unresolved and growing problem in research laboratories worldwide. Once cells have become contaminated it is impossible to be sure the cells truly reflect the biological processes being studied.
Recently there has been a significant growth in the need for cell authentication methods as scientists seek assurance on the quality of their cell lines. This has followed recommendations on cell authentication as a standard method in the laboratory and publications high-lighting cases where contaminated or misidentified cells resulted in serious research errors and losses. The ability to authenticate cell lines has also advanced over the last decade, through improved access to more advanced genetic screening methods such as qPCR.
Gen-Id offers a quick, cost effective and independent validation method using a panel of SNPs to build up a SNP ‘fingerprint' or ‘bar code'. We offer this service at the commencement of a project and at regular time intervals thereafter to confirm the cells have remained unchanged. We also analyse customers cells against profiles in our records of cell SNP identities. While we currently work with human cell lines we are happy to discuss individual requirements researchers may have to ensure complete confidence in cultured cells.