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WiCell Adopts Agilent CGH+SNP Chips for Stem Cell Screening Service

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WiCell will now offer comparative genomic hybridization and SNP analysis of mouse and human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells using Agilent Technologies-manufactured microarrays.

Headquartered in Madison, Wis., and supporting the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WiCell is a research institute that claims to be the world's leading distributor of human pluripotent stem cells. The nonprofit is the owner of six stem cell lines listed on the National Institute of Health's stem cell registry, and is also the home of the National Stem Cell Bank, which acquires, characterizes, and distributes the 21 human embryonic stem cell lines and their sub-clones available for use in federally funded research programs, and licenses the lines and provides technical support to the stem cell research community.

Since 2005, the organization has operated a Cytogenetics Laboratory to serve UW-Madison and WiCell researchers to monitor karyotypic stability in their human embryonic stem cell cultures. The lab also provides full-service cytogenetic testing of many different cell types for companies and institutions worldwide. According to WiCell's website, these services include g-banded karyotyping, fluorescence in situ hybridization, short tandem repeat assays, and now CGH+SNP array analysis. The CGH+SNP array assay is performed by WiCell cytogeneticists and reviewed by an American Board of Medical Genetics-certified director, the institute said.

Agilent introduced its CGH+SNP arrays two years ago (BAN 9/14/2010). The arrays contain both copy number and SNP content, and allow users to detect CNV changes as well as uniparental disomy or copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity in samples.

Kathleen Shelton, senior director of genomics marketing at Agilent, said in a statement that Agilent's technology "partners well" with WiCell's "considerable experience and know-how" in cytogenetic analysis, as well as the institute's large CGH dataset for embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. She added that the new partnership should provide capabilities "vital for research and commercial development."

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