Cell line misidentification and contamination are widespread problems in biomedical research—problems that can result in wasted research funds and paper retractions. Many researchers have not implemented quality control practices because current STR profiling methods are laborious and error-prone.
Yet SNP profiling is proven to be a fast, cost-effective alternative with equivalent data quality, as demonstrated in the paper Human Biosample Authentication Using the High-Throughput, Cost-Effective SNP Trace™ System.
Recent collaboration among scientists at Genentech, Inc., and Fluidigm Corporation demonstrated that SNP profiling performs comparably to STR profiling for cell line authentication and contamination detection. Many journals identify labor-intensive STR profiling as a requirement for publication, yet SNP profiling has proven a better alternative, offering equivalent-quality results in less time at a better price.
The team used the SNP Trace panel to generate SNP profiles for nearly 1,000 cancer cell lines, profiles that now serve as a resource for researchers. The results were published February 25 in a PLOS ONE paper entitled “Human biosample authentication using the high-throughput, cost-effective SNP Trace™ system.”
The findings’ significance is magnified by the fact that up to 35 percent of all human cell lines are contaminated or misidentified. Left undetected, such errors can lead to false results, requiring retractions and corrections. Given the notoriety of this issue, scientists may want to consider updating their labs to incorporate SNP Trace as an optimal tool for ensuring adequate authentication and quality control protocols.