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MDACC Cytogenetics and Cell Authentication Core

Overview of Services

The primary goal of this facility is to offer conventional and molecular cytogenetic services, including species identification, karyotyping, analysis of genomic instability, fluorescence in situ hybridization and spectral karyotyping. Dr. Guillermina Lozano is the Director and Dr. Asha S. Multani is the Co-Director of the facility. CACis administered through the Department of Genetics.



The Cytogenetics and Cell Authentication Core Facility provides the following services:

  • Study of genetic instability by chromosome analysis
  • Cell line identification: human, mouse, rat, dog, monkey or of any other mammalian origin
  • Giemsa (G), C, Q, R –banding, SCE (Sister Chromatid Exchange) and silver staining of metaphase chromosomes
  • Analysis of meiotic chromosomes of laboratory animals
  • Effects of pharmaceutical products on human and other mammalian chromosomes
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on interphase and metaphase cells using whole chromosome paints, centromere probes, gene mapping with commercial and laboratory-generated DNA probes
  • Quantitative FISH (Q-FISH) analysis of telomeric sequences
  • Spectral karyotyping (SKY) in human, mouse and rat cells
  • Determination of the genetic suitability of mammalian stem cells to be used for cloning purposes
  • 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. 




The Molecular Cytogenetics Core Facility is equipped with:

  • Nikon Eclipse 800 upright microscope with two CCD ports
  • Applied Spectral Imaging SKY interferometer plus workstation
  • Sensys CCD camera for FISH image acquisition and analysis
  • PSI Genetiscan cytogenetics workstation with dedicated EM 400 Nikon Microscope, CCD camera and karyotyping software



We will take the time to understand your project and plan for the preparation of samples for analysis. We will help with interpretation of the results and upon request provide a detailed description of method as well as microphotographs (color or black and white) suitable for inclusion in reports or manuscripts to the investigators.


Core Grant Citation

Publications should cite the Core in the acknowledgment section if publications use data generated by the Core facility. Two copies of the publication acknowledging the Core grant should also be submitted to the facility at 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 1010, Houston, TX, 77030






Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D., Director
Phone: 713-834-6386


Asha S. Multani, Ph.D., Co-Director
Phone: 713-563-1892


Sen Pathak, Ph.D., F.N.A.Sc., Research Professor
Phone: 713-563-1892


Jin Ma, Research Investigator
Phone: 713-563-1892


Xuesong Li, Research Investigator





Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Samples received between 10am and 12pm Monday thru Thursday 

The cytogenetics and cell authentication Facility is located in the BSRB in S13.8414 (lab) and S13.8415.

Links and Resources

  1. Molecular Cytogenetics Core Facility


Name Role Phone Email Location
Asha S. Multani Ph.D.

Xuesong Li
Core Staff

Service Requests

Search available services: View: by category alphabetically
Analysis of ES cells (4)
Characterized Cell Line Services (5)
FISH (Fluorescence in-situ hybridization) Using Commercial Probes (5)
Genomic instability (Chromosomal aberrations) (2)
Inter-species cell line contamination (2)
Karyotyping (G-banding) Blood, iPSC, Stem cells or Normal cells (2)
Karyotyping (G-banding) Cell Lines (2)
SKY (Spectral Karyotyping) (2)
Sister Chromatid Exchange (SCE) analysis (2)
Telomere FISH (4)
unclassified (4)