Quick, simple and reliable Cell Line Authentication

The UK’s Leading Cell Line Service

Simple ordering process 5 day turnaround UK based Convenient sample collection Competitive pricing

Authenticate your cell lines quickly, simply and accurately with our unrivalled, UK based 5-day service.

Using highly sensitive Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), our PCR and sequencing analysis allows for high level discrimination between cell sets, samples and cultures. STR analysis is the gold standard for Cell Line Authentication services.

With over thirty years of experience, we offer a comprehensive service designed to give you complete confidence in your models, whilst saving precious time with simple ordering, convenient sample collection and prompt reporting.

Please complete the form below and we will be back in touch to discuss your requirements.

Alternatively call our Customer Services team on 0191 233 1414

Our Cell Line Authentication service is carried out in house at our UK based accredited laboratory.

Why choose NorthGene™?
  • Highly accurate: DNA Analysis using Promega®  PowerPlex Fusion gold standard STR profiling system.
  • Fast turnaround: Results issued within 5 working days of our laboratory receiving your samples.
  • Completely confidential.
  • Simple sample collection process using collection cards which we provide.
  • Mycoplasma detection and mixture analysis available.
  • Electropherograms provided upon request.
  • Reference profiling against public databases where required and full result interpretation.
  • Performed under our ISO 17025 accredited procedures.
Why authenticate your cell lines?

It is estimated that 20% of cell lines used in research are misidentified or contaminated. Therefore, routine testing is fundamental.

Authenticating cell lines is a crucial step in scientific research, especially in fields such as cell biology, genetics, and biomedical research.

The primary reasons for authenticating cell lines are:

  • before submitting a paper for review
  • before beginning a new grant or major set of experiments
  • to detect cross-contamination
  • if cells give erratic, and unreproducible results.
  • if a change in morphology or growth characteristics are observed
  • when receiving cells
  • when creating cell stocks for storage
  • when creating a denovo cell line.

For more information on the prevalence and impact of cell line misidentification see the following references:

When should you authenticate your cell lines?
  • When initiating or obtaining a new cell line
  • During the initial week of subculturing a fresh cell culture
  • Commencing a new set of experiments
  • As part of regular passages for maintained cell lines
  • When encountering erratic cell behaviour or unforeseen outcomes
  • Prior to publishing research findings
  • Before freezing cell stocks to confirm their purity
What is Mycoplasma and how can it affect my cell culture?

Mycoplasma is a unique genus of bacteria. Unlike most bacterial species, Mycoplasma lacks a cell wall allowing it to assume diverse shapes. These characteristics challenges the effectiveness of antibiotics in cell culture media, as many antibiotics target the bacterial cell wall. Mycoplasma, among the tiniest bacteria (0.2–0.8 µm in size), presents a stealthy contamination risk.

Contamination of cell cultures by Mycoplasma can impact cell behaviour, rendering experimental results unreliable and irreproducible. Detecting Mycoplasma proves challenging due to its small size, potentially affecting cultured cells for extended periods and undermining prior research outcomes. Mycoplasma species commonly disrupt protein, RNA, and DNA synthesis through nutrient scarcity, alter cellular morphology, and modulate cytokine expression, predominantly with negative consequences. Various other detrimental effects may also arise.

Why test for Mycoplasma?
Removing Mycoplasma contamination from cell cultures is possible but often time-consuming, sometimes taking weeks or even longer. In many cases, it’s more practical to discard the affected culture. However, early detection simplifies the process. Certain antibiotics targeting DNA replication or protein expression can eliminate Mycoplasma when present at low levels. Regular testing enables the rescue of valuable or limited-resource cell cultures.

While some changes in cell cultures hint at Mycoplasma contamination, the only definitive method of detection is specific testing.

Why perform mixture analysis?

When discovering contamination in a cell line, the initial reaction is often to discard the culture and consider the issue resolved. However, identifying the contaminant’s profile can help pinpoint its source, allowing for a more targeted approach to address the root cause. This proactive step significantly minimises the risk of future contamination, ultimately saving both time and money.

Inconclusive cell lines
If your cell line authentication report is inconclusive—indicating that your cell culture isn’t authenticated and doesn’t match another cell line—this could be due to several reasons, including potential low to mid-level contamination from another cell line, microsatellite instability (MSI), or recombination events. Conducting a mixture analysis helps differentiate between actual contamination and effects from cell culture establishment or passaging.

Once contamination is ruled out, you can specifically test for MSI using methods like the Bethesda panel or commercial kits. However, testing for MSI before conducting a mixture analysis may be a wasteful use of time and resources if the additional peaks are due to contamination from another cell line.

Sample requirements

Our Cell Line Authentication service includes DNA extraction of cell cultures spotted onto our bespoke sample collection kits. We are also able to work with frozen cell pellets at a minimum yield of 2 x 105 cells.

We are also able to work with pre-extracted DNA samples of a minimum concentration of 10ng/µl in a total volume of 20µl. DNA samples must be free of any PCR inhibitors such as EDTA, proteins, polysaccharides or DMSO.

Please note, if cell pellets or DNA eluates are to be sent in place of using our standard sample collection kits, cell samples must be clearly labelled and transported frozen, on dry ice. Please ensure samples arrive during office hours and not weekends or public holidays. Samples can be returned where requested, and charges will apply.

Detailed technical information

We offer analysis of 24 polymorphic STRs which allows cross identification of cell lines with an extremely high power of discrimination. The loci which will be tested include the 17 markers contained within ICLAC recommended databases in compliance with ASN-0002-2022.

By analysing these markers, each sample can be matched and verified with a high degree of precision. The allelic data from samples can be compared against each other, a known reference or verified against cell line databases.

Any sample(s) which require repeat testing will be communicated to the sender as soon as possible, to prevent delay. In a small number of instances, it may not be possible to complete the analysis, most often due to poor DNA quality. All unsuccessful samples are retested once more. Charges for all tests will still apply where it is not possible to issue a result.