The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association




Quick facts

Project title: 
Viable cells: renaissance of a forgotten high-end resource type to shape the future of molecular biodiversity research
ZFMK Project lead: 


The CellGen project is composed of two main parts. The first part
investigates whether cell cultures accumulate mutations with progressive
number of passages. One of the advantages of cell culture is to provide
best quality of DNA/RNA and metaphases. Hence, we expect that cell
culture will experience a renaissance in the light of high throughput
sequencing techniques. However, it is still not clear how the number of
passages (i.e., the number of times cells are transferred from vessel to
vessel) can affect genetic and chromosomal composition. Thus, our
objective is to quantify mutation as an effect of passage numbers, by
sequencing a vertebrate (bird) and in conjunction with the GBOL-3
project ideally also an invertebrate (wasp) species in different
subculture stages.
Further, new sequencing technologies and in particular the continuous
development of PacBio SMRT sequencing with ever more accurate and longer
reads facilitate de novo genome assemblies. However, this technique
still heavily relies on high-quality, high molecular weight DNA. Most
samples preserved in ethanol do not fulfill these conditions to reliably
obtain sufficient starting material and consequently sequencing data to
assemble reference level genomes. Moreover, it can be very difficult to
impossible to obtain fresh samples from the wild, especially for
protected or even extinct species. Therefore, in the second part of
CellGen, we aim to exploit cell cultures as a source for reference
genome sequencing.


Contact person

Manager Cell Culture Lab
+49 228 9122-355
+49 228 9122-212
c.dinizo [at]