Reproducible instability

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Science  22 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6433, pp. 1297-1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6433.1297-g

The cervical cancer cell line called HeLa is regularly used in laboratories across the world. But how do we know that HeLa cells used in one laboratory are the same as those used in another? Genetically unstable cell lines, like HeLa, might contribute to irreproducibility between experiments. Liu et al. analyzed stock HeLa cells from 13 laboratories and recorded variation in gene copy numbers, gene expression, protein expression, and protein turnover, which were reflected in cell phenotypes. Other genetically unstable cancer cells are similarly variable, emphasizing the importance of careful monitoring, maintenance, and culture of cell lines to maintain reproducibility between labs.

Nat. Biotech. 37, 314 (2019).

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