Authentication of Human Cell Lines Through STR

The understanding of the human genetic blueprint through the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) in 2003 was one of the biggest accomplishments in biology. A great deal of what we are is determined by our genetics, and an understanding of that can help to combat disease and other biological issues. With a greater understanding of genetics, scientists occasionally employ methods that help them to quickly identify particular patterns. One of these is Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profiling, which uses regions of repeated DNA (such as GATA-GATA-GATA) as genetic markers for human identification or cell line authentication. STRs are easily amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Despite the fact that STR profiling is a relatively simple method that has been in use for some time, the use of misidentified genetic lines in research still continues to occur, wasting millions of dollars and a great deal of time on processes that if correctly utilized could benefit human life.

ANSI/ATCC ASN-0002-2011: Authentication of Human Cell Lines: Standardization of STR Profiling is a comprehensive detail of the procedure for identifying and authenticating human cell lines without ambiguity using STR profiling. It solves the problem of misidentified genetic lines in research by providing a historical perspective on standardization of human cell line authentication through STR profiling, looking at different discoveries throughout time. This is important because today scientists may be completely unaware of this past knowledge, resulting in the belief or claim that they are working with a sample from one individual or species, even though it could very well be a completely different individual or species. The standard assists with authentication to result in the following: verification of human origin, evaluation of profile consistency between provisionally related cell isolates, comparison to a profile database, and detection of “contaminating human DNA” (intraspecies cell-cross contamination). Its range of coverage does not include interspecies identification of non-humans, which would require a different process for genetic marking.

STR profiling is important for treating human diseases such as cancer, identifying substrates to be used for the production of vaccines, and creating recombinant proteins for therapy. Guaranteeing the proper identification of genetic materials that are used for these processes is essential for their future success.

The American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) is an ANSI-accredited nonprofit biological resource center (BRC) that focuses on materials for research in the life sciences. ATCC has also published the recently-revised standard ANSI/ATCC ASN-0001.1-2015: Standardization of in vitro Assays to Determine Anthrax Toxin Activities. This serves to provide researchers, vendors, and stakeholders with a standardized methodology for assaying in vitro activity of anthrax toxins. It details how the proteins are assessed for purity and activity, along with describing procedures and methods needed to properly work with these toxins.

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