MDACC Characterized Cell Line Core Facility


Overview of Services

  • Cell Line Authentication: Short Tandem Repeat (STR) DNA profiling, also known as DNA fingerprinting, offers the greatest value for cell line authentication. The assay is based on screening regions of microsatellite instability with defined tri- or tetrad-nucleotide repeats located throughout the chromosomes. PCR reactions using primers on non-repetitive flanking those regions will generate PCR products of different sizes based on the number of repeats in the region; the size of these PCR products is determined by capillary electrophoresis. By combining between 8 and 16 STR loci, such as D5S818, D13S317, D7S820, D16S539, vWA, TH01, TPOX, and CSF1PO, it is possible to uniquely identify a sample. The Core assay screens 16 loci using the Promega Powerplex 16 HS kit. Our test also includes matching the STR profiles against an internal database comprised of public profiles and profiles that are unique to cell lines developed by MDACC investigators. Our current database has over 4000 profiles. We require 50 uL of whole genomic DNA adjusted to 10-15 ng/uL. 


  • Mycoplasma Testing: Mycoplasma contamination can affect the way that a cell line behaves, which can negatively impact data generated with the cell line. We use the Lonza Mycoalert Mycoplasma Detection Kit to test. We require 1 mL of media (with cells removed).


  • Purchase of Cell Lines: Please click on the below link to visit the Core website for a list of cell lines that are available for purchase.


  • Deposit and Distribution of Cell Lines: The Core also grows and distributes deposited cell lines after they have been licensed by MD Anderson’s Office of Commercialization, reducing the burden on departments that have commercially attractive cell lines, but no way of growing/distributing them because the original inventor has left the institution, in some cases. These cell lines have been correctly STR profiled and tested negative for mycoplasma contamination. The Core will not accept cell lines that are:
    • obtained from a commercial source,
    • restricted under an MTA, and/or
    • mycoplasma positive. (All cell lines will be tested immediately after deposit and mycoplasma positive cell lines will be discarded after notifying the PI.)



All cell lines distributed by the Core are STR profiled and tested for mycoplasma and bacterial contamination immediately before freezing.  We also make sure there is an adequate number of cells in each vial to guarantee that cells will grow properly upon receipt and thawing.  If you are having problems growing any of the cell lines received from the Core, please contact us.  We can provide some advice for growing your cells, but we cannot provide an immediate replacement vial. There are several reasons why cell lines might not grow properly such as: transfer and storage after receipt, thawing method, appropriate media, FBS concentration, incubator CO2 level and temperature, level of experience growing cells, among others.  Thus, we will only provide a replacement vial after evaluating all the parameters above and concluding that customers followed the best cell culture practices. 


Asha S Multani PHD

Associate Professor, Genetics


Core Staff


Xuesong Li, Research Investigator (Primary Contact)


Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.             

The Core is located in the 6767 Bertner Avenue Mitchell Bldg. BSRB S13.8415 Houston, TX 77030.  You must email to set an appointment for sample submission and cell line pick-up.

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Links and Resources

Please click here to visit the Core website.




Name Role Phone Email Location
Xuesong Li
Research Investigator

Price List

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