NIST Announces Program to ID Human Cell Lines for Research

Michael Baum

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that it is launching a project to collect and catalog DNA identification data for up to 1,500 human cell lines used in biological and medical research. In a notice posted in the Feb. 3, 2012, Federal Register, NIST called for voluntary contributions of cell lines to be cataloged in the project.

The data will be collected in a publically accessible database hosted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health.

“Immortalized” human cell lines are laboratory cultures of cells that have been induced to continue growing and replicating. They are widely used in pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnology research, multiplied and divided, passing from lab to lab and country to country. The oldest such cell line is the so-called HeLa line, originally derived from cervical cancer cells. That line dates to 1951.

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