How to choose the right cell line for your experiments

Cell lines are an easy and inexpensive tool used by researchers routinely. With the plethora of cell lines available today, selecting the right cell line for your project is fundamental for getting reliable results. Cell line contamination, misidentification, source, genetics, and reproducibility are crucial characteristics to be considered when choosing the right cell line for your research. This article is meant to be a guide through the factors to consider before choosing a cell line for your project.

1. Authenticity

It is important to obtain cell lines from trusted sources such as the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) and the Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen (DSMZ). Misidentification of cell lines due to cross-contamination is one of the most serious problems. Cell line authentication is required on receipt, before/after storage, distribution, and post-project completion.

2. Contamination

Contamination of cell cultures with mycoplasma is one of the major problems in cell culture labs. Contamination can alter cell biology and interfere with experimental results. Make sure to source cell stocks from trusted suppliers with verified Mycoplasma-free cell lines. Additionally, it is a good practice to culture cells in a clean and quarantined environment.

3. Low passage

Cancer cell lines divert genetically from their original tumors due to their inherent genetic instability. To avoid this, it is suggested to maintain stock cells at low passages and restart the culture regularly in 2-3 months.

4. Right cell biology

Choosing a cell line usually depends on the type of experiments you are conducting. For instance, if you want to study triple-negative breast cancer, you will select an appropriate cell line for your research goals. Other factors such as culture conditions, growth rate,

transfectability, morphology, and cost of cell lines can have a big impact on the experiments that you are going to perform.


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