Cell Line Contamination
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Cell Line Contamination
News on cell culture and contaminated cell lines
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Scooped by Amanda Capes-Davis

Which Journals Ask for Cell Line Authentication?

Lots of people ask me this question.  So I like to keep a list online to share with everyone.  If you spot any mistakes or can think of any journals I have missed, please leave a comment to let me know.


The journals or publishers that I have found with some kind of authentication requirement are listed below.  Requirements vary with each journal - for example, Nature has a checklist that sets out reporting requirements for cell lines, including authentication testing status.  The International Journal of Cancer has a mandatory requirement for authentication, and authors are asked about this specifically during manuscript submission.


Including a requirement for cell line authentication means more effort from everyone involved - editors, reviewers and authors.  But the end result is more reliable research.  Kudos to all involved here.


Eight AACR journals, including Cancer Research


200+ BioMed Central journals, including BMC Cancer



Five Endocrine Society journals, including the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism


All Nature journals, including Nature and Nature Methods


Three Society for Endocrinology journals, including Journal of Endocrinology







Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics


Cell Biology International


International Journal of Cancer


Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science



In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal


Journal of Molecular Biology


Journal of the National Cancer Institute


Molecular Vision






Fesquet didier's curator insight, June 16, 2016 12:50 PM
a growing problem!
Scooped by Amanda Capes-Davis

Molecular Vision: leadership from the eye research community in authenticating cell lines

In 2009, Jonathan Crowston at the University of Melbourne and colleagues from a number of laboratories published a paper on the RGC-5 cell line.  RGC-5 was thought to be a retinal ganglion cell line, used by many groups as a model for eye disease.  But Crowston's results were disconcerting:  instead of coming from rat, the cell line was actually of mouse origin.


In 2013, Thomas Yorio of the North Texas Eye Research Institute showed that the cell line responsible was 661W, a mouse photoreceptor cell line.  661W was handled in the originator's laboratory, and it is highly likely that the RGC-5 cell line was cross-contaminated as it was being established.


What impact does that have on the field of eye research?  The editors of Molecular Vision estimate that at least 230 articles have been published using RGC-5, 18 in their own journal.


In a wonderfully proactive response, the editors have said:  enough is enough.


Molecular Vision will no longer publish articles that contain data from RGC-5 cells.


All published articles in Molecular Vision must now provide data on authentication of their cell lines and show that they have the "correct phenotype and genotype".


This policy was developed hand in hand with two other eye research journals, Experimental Eye Research and Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.


Tributes to all involved for their leadership, and to Crowston, Yorio and their colleagues for years of painstaking work.


For Crowston's 2009 paper, see:



For the abstract of Yorio's 2013 paper, see:


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Scooped by Amanda Capes-Davis

NIH | Proposed Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research

NIH | Proposed Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research | Cell Line Contamination | Scoop.it

The NIH has just released a set of principles and guidelines for reporting preclinical research - and it includes cell lines.


The guidelines follow a joint workshop held in June between the NIH, Nature Publishing Group and Science.  They are endorsed by a large number of journals and societies.


They note that best practice guidelines should be established to allow biological material to be uniquely identified.  For cell lines, scientists should also report source, authentication and Mycoplasma contamination status.


Journals are encouraged to use checklists for editorial processing and the use of community-based standards is encouraged.


ICLAC was one of a number of organizations and individuals who wrote to the NIH, urging that cell lines should be considered in any planned reproducibility initiatives.


For a list of journals, associations, and societies that endorse the NIH guidelines, see:



For ICLAC's Cell Line Checklist for Manuscripts and Grant Applications, see:



Photo: Francis Collins, NIH Director, http://www.nih.gov/about/director/images/directorgallery/.

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Scooped by Amanda Capes-Davis

Nature Announces New Initiative That Includes Reporting Standards for Cell Lines

Nature Announces New Initiative That Includes Reporting Standards for Cell Lines | Cell Line Contamination | Scoop.it

The journal Nature has published before on the need for scientists to authenticate their cell lines.  Now, as part of a wider initiative to address irreproducibility, Nature has finally set reporting standards for cell lines.


To view the editorial making this announcement, click on the title link above.  Nature has developed a checklist setting out their reporting standards for life science articles, which can be found at:



For cell lines, authors are asked to report when they were last authenticated and details of testing for authenticity (e.g. STR profiling) and Mycoplasma.


Although reporting standards are a good step forward, more steps are needed for a final solution.  The new reporting standards are not mandatory.  If scientists are not required to test their cell lines, they (and their reviewers) may miss false cell lines that would be detected with a mandatory approach.  With estimates of 15% of cell lines believed to be misidentifed, this is a serious issue that deserves a more regulated response.


Nature previously published a letter from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC) on this topic:



What do you think?  Does this new initiative go far enough?

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