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Authentication of biological material: relevance for research

Conference paper
Authors Edward R.B. Moore
Published in FEMS 2009 - 3rd Congress of European Microbiologists: European Culture Collections Organisation (ECCO) Special Event – Microbial diversity, genomics, methods and microbial commons for interaction within the research community. June 28-July 02, Göteborg, Sweden
Pages 38
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Pages 38
Language en
Subject categories Biological Systematics


Background: Strain collections provide repositories of microbial diversity, available for academic and biotechnological exploitation. Since 2002, proof of availability has been required for valid publication of bacterial species. Given the rationale for maintaining references of microbial strains, collections have responsibility for insuring viability, purity, authenticity, and accessibility. To this end, strain collections and researchers must consider the methods for authenticating strains. Methods: The methods used for strain authentication must be reproducible with resolution for recognising incorrect organisms. Strain collections typically employ a variety of non-standardised test panels for analysing deposited strains. Results: DNA sequence analyses have proven to be the most reliable method for assessing the authenticity of deposited strains. An extremely high or perfect correlation of sequence identities is expected in order to authenticate deposited strains. We must recognise that procedures for authenticating deposits in strain collections necessarily are defined by those used for describing the organism. As information accumulates from multi-locus analyses, gene sequence data may be employed directly, forgoing many current protocols. Conclusions: Strain collections should solicit “Strain Character Authentication” information from depositors, which would list specific relevant information for authenticating strains. Such information should include accession numbers for gene sequences of deposited strains. Listings of specific genotypic, as well as phenotypic differential data would markedly “stream-line” the process of deciding which analyses are necessary for authenticating deposited strains. Costs could be reduced by eliminating uninformative analyses. The overall authentication process and confidence of researchers requiring reference strains from collections would be greatly enhanced.

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