Culture Collections

Are you ready for ISO 15819:2012?

Medical laboratories are currently in a period of transition. Having previously been accredited to CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) standards, most are now working towards UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation) accreditation to the internationally recognised international standard ISO 15189:2012 - Medical laboratories - Requirements for quality and competence. The standard includes specific requirements regarding quality control materials.

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Identification of reference genes

QRT PCR is a powerful tool to determine relative gene expression in cells that have been exposed to two or more experimental conditions. Proper use of this method requires a step to normalise results obtained for the target genes of interest (GOIs) to those from reference genes. Find out how to identify which are the most appropriate reference genes to use in your experiments.

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Over 1500 bacterial isolates sequenced in the NCTC 3000 project

In a bid to improve public health research and clinical diagnostics, over 1500 bacterial isolates have been sequenced as part of the NCTC 3000 project. The project aims to generate reference genomes for 3000 NCTC bacteria and it is hoped that the data will be used to inform and direct research, and to advance clinical diagnostics.

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Why Choose Us?

Public Health England (PHE) is the custodian of four unique collections that consist of expertly preserved, authenticated cell lines and microbial strains of known provenance for use in medical science and laboratory healthcare.

All the collections are developed, managed and maintained by highly trained, dedicated staff who work in accordance with internationally recognised quality standards including certification to ISO 9001:2008.

Cultures from the collections are used by scientists who need to reassure themselves and others that the materials they are using are authentic, so the conclusions to their studies are valid and relevant. This is particularly important where research may lead to peer-reviewed publications, for example, in drug discovery and vaccine efficacy studies. Authenticated reference strains are also of paramount importance for clinical diagnostic testing, food, water and environmental microbiology testing and validation studies.

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Cell lines

The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) maintains and supplies over 40,000 cell lines and their derivatives such as DNA, RNA and cDNA.





The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) maintains and supplies over 5000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.





The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) maintains and supplies over 700 viruses and viral nucleic acid.





The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) maintains and supplies over 4000 fungal strains.


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