• Cell lines are grown in laboratories worldwide to help us understand how normal cells function and how disease happens.
  • ICLAC-Slideshow-1_02c
  • Every cell line has a story.  The donor of that cell line and the scientists who established it are all part of that story.
  • For some cell lines, we lose track of the story.  Misidentified cell lines no longer correspond to the original donor and may come from an entirely different species, tissue or disease.
  • Cell lines become misidentified through cross-contamination, mislabelling, or other laboratory errors.  The problem was uncovered by Stanley Gartler and Walter Nelson-Rees in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • ICLAC-Slideshow-1_06b
  • The International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC) is a voluntary group of scientists that works to increase awareness of misidentified cell lines.
  • ICLAC-Slideshow-1_08b
  • Misidentified cell lines can be detected by authentication testing.  Scientists should test their cell lines using an accepted consensus method, such as short tandem repeat (STR) profiling.
  • Good Cell Culture Practice – including authentication testing – is essential if cell lines are to be good models for health and disease.
  • Every cell line has a story.  That story is important if we are to make research using cell lines more reliable and reproducible.What story does your sample tell?
  • ICLAC-Slideshow-1_12a
  • ICLAC-Slideshow-1_13a
  • ICLAC-Slideshow-1_14a


ICLAC resources have been written to help scientists learn more about authentication, and tackle some of the problems that affect cell lines in practice.

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ICLAC’s database of cross-contaminated or otherwise misidentified
cell lines can be found here.

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New to Website

Does it matter if a cell line is misidentified? WSU-CLL - the first cell line in our new Case Studies section - shows why it matters for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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ICLAC is an independent committee with support from the scientific community. Thank you to ICLAC Members and Partner Organizations for your support.