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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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Gene probes to detect cross-culture contamination in hormone producing cell lines


  • I. Matsuba
  • Å Lernmark
  • B. Michelsen
  • J. H. Nielsen
  • J. Scholler
  • H. Vissing
  • B. Welinder
  • N. Tommerup
  • M. Mikkelsen
  • H. Ishikawa
  • Y. Ikeda
  • T. Tanese

Summary, in English

Cross-culture contamination of cell lines propagated in continuous culture is a frequent event and particularly difficult to resolve in cells expressing similar phenotypes. We demonstrate that DNA-DNA hybridization to blotted endonuclease-digested cell DNA effectively detects cross-culture contamination to monitor inter-species as well as intra-species cross contamination. An insulin-producing cell-line, Clone-16, originally cloned from a human fetal endocrine pancreatic cell line did not produce human c-peptide as anticipated. DNA from these cells showed no hybridization to the human ALU sequence probe, BLUR, and lacked restriction fragment length polymorphism typical for the human HLA-DQ β-chain gene. Although a human insulin gene probe showed a weak, nonhuman hybridization pattern, a cDNA probe for the Syrian hamster insulin gene hybridized strongly consistent with a single copy hamster insulin gene. Karyotyping confirmed the absence of human chromosomes in the Clone-16 cells while sizes, centromere indices, and banding patterns were identical to Syrian hamster fibroblasts. We conclude that the insulin-producing Clone-16 cells are of Syrian hamster origin and demonstrate the effective use of gene probes to control the origin of cell cultures.

Publishing year







In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology





Document type

Journal article




  • ALU-probes
  • cross-culture contamination
  • DNA hybridization
  • insulin gene
  • insulinoma
  • karyotyping




  • ISSN: 0883-8364