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STR Profiling


STR profiling is a forensic DNA analysis method that examines 16 specific short tandem repeat (STR) loci, unique to individuals, by counting the repetitions in their DNA to create a distinctive profile for identification.


What is STR Profiling?

The vast majority of the information encoded in human DNA is shared by all human beings on the planet. However a very small part of this DNA is unique to each individual. These are known as short tandem repeats (STRs) and are sequences of repeated, hypervariable DNA which differ between individuals (except identical twins). STR profiling looks at how many times these sections are repeated. As we know which these repeated sections are, we can analyse and count how many times they are repeated. This is what is known as a DNA profile.

STR profiling uses 16 known repeated sections or loci present in the DNA. Each peak in the profile represents one of these 16 loci and is given a numerical value. There are two values for each locus, one value coming from each ‘parent’ of the sample. By entering the numerical scores for each locci into the AuthentiCell Database, scientists can confidently confirm the identity of their cells.


Interpreting STR Profiles

The STR profiling report is emailed within 5 working days and includes expert interpretation. Read more about interpreting STR profiles


Raising awareness of cell line misidentification

In 2012, ECACC co-founded the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC). ICLAC aims to ensure that cell line misidentification has a much higher profile and promote awareness of the adverse scientific consequences. In addition to ECACC, ICLAC members also include representatives from other international cell culture collections and respected scientific researchers committed to championing the importance of verified cell line identity.

There are documented cases where researchers have unwittingly used a cell line claimed to represent one type of tissue which has subsequently been found to be from another tissue and/or individual. One of the consequences has been the retraction of scientific publications; in some cases, delays to the progress of drug development have arisen. It is estimated that 15 – 20% of cancer research publications are based on work using misidentified cell lines1.

ICLAC evolved from the global committee that published a standard (American National Standards Institute [ANSI] ASN-0002) for the authentication of cell lines and now administers and publishes the internationally recognised database of misidentified cell lines.

As understanding of this issue grows, an increasing number of researchers are opting to source authentic cell lines and use the cell line authentication services offered by ECACC.

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1. Freshney R. I. (2010) Database of misidentified cell lines. Int J Cancer. 126: 302-04