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STR profiling using FTA cards

Cell cultures have been crucially important tools in the field of biology and medicine for many decades and in vitro tests are used extensively in the research and development and quality control of a number of different life science fields. However, issues regarding cell line misidentification have been known since the 1960s, particularly from the work of Stanley Gartler on HeLa contamination. It is estimated that at least 15% of cell lines used worldwide are misidentified. The best solution to avoiding this problem for human cell lines is Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profiling. ECACC can now offer an STR profiling cell line authentication service where cells are simply spotted onto a special (FTA) card and sent for profiling at ambient temperature. This negates the need to extract DNA from cell pellets and removes the cold chain distribution required for sending cell pellets on dry ice. 

FTA cards contain chemicals that lyse cells, denature proteins and protect nucleic acids from nucleases, oxidation and UV damage. Using FTA cards, sending cell lines for authentication by STR profiling is as easy as:

  1. Create a cell suspension with minimum concentration of 5 x 105 cells/ml and then pipette 50 µl (minimum 5,000 cells) onto the centre of the FTA card
  2. Leave the FTA Card to dry for approximately 2 minutes before placing the card into its plastic bag with the desiccant (supplied with the kit)
  3. Place the FTA card into the pre-addressed envelope supplied with the kit. Post to the STR profiling service provider in the normal mail at ambient temperature

An STR profiling report will be emailed within 5 working days. This will include expert interpretation of the results and a comparison of the profile with other cell line profiles available on online STR profile databases.


Related links

International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC)

ECACC Cell Line Authentication Services

January 2020