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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions For customers

Frequently Asked Questions For depositors


How do I find a particular EBiSC cell line?

EBiSC has a catalogue of cell lines available at https://cells.ebisc.org. This contains a complete list of cell lines that can be filtered and searched by cell line name, disease, primary cell type, donor sex, reprogramming method and even specific genes which are known to be carrying disease associated mutations in a specific cell line. This creates a list of cell lines that match your specified criteria, clicking a specific cell line name will open a cell line information page with further information.

If you are struggling to find an iPSC line which matches your requirements, please email EBiSC@eurtd.com and our team will be happy to help you.

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Who has deposited iPSC lines into EBiSC?

A variety of commercial, non-commercial and academic centres of excellence across Europe have deposited their iPSC lines into EBiSC. This includes collaboration with large iPSC projects such as HipSci and StemBANCC in addition to smaller projects such as CRACK-IT challenges and collaboration with academic research groups such as The Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre and University College London.

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Can EBiSC generate new iPSC lines for me?

Yes, EBiSC is happy to help users generate new iPSC lines. We have a number of specialist research teams within EBiSC who can generate iPSCs in line with EBiSC Quality standards. EBiSC is happy to act as a non-profit intermediary between yourself as a customer and these teams. Please email EBiSC@eurtd.com if you would like to EBiSC to connect you with a relevant team to perform this activity as a fee-for-service activity.

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What Quality Control is performed on the cell lines?

All cell line batches are subjected to a standard set of quality control assays and only lines which pass are released for sale. These tests include:

Any additional characterisation data available for a particular cell line will also be displayed on the EBiSC catalogue, for example see the cell line page for UKKi007-B.

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Can EBiSC help me access patient samples and/or clinical data associated with a specific disease background?

Yes, EBiSC has a network of specialist clinicians who may be able to help you collect patient samples for iPSC generation in a specific disease background. Please email EBiSC@eurtd.com with specific information on the donor cohort you need iPSC lines from.

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How do I know if an EBiSC line has been gene-edited?

The EBiSC Catalogue has information on any genetic modifications which have been performed on an iPSC line. This can be seen in the ‘Genetic Modification’ column of the Catalogue, whereby the gene which has been modified and any disease associated with that genetic modification, are detailed.

Each cell line page also has further details on what has been modified, how the modification was performed and the resulting genotype.

If you are struggling to find an iPSC line which matches your requirements, please email EBiSC@eurtd.com and our team will be happy to help you.

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Can EBiSC perform gene-editing for me?

Yes, EBiSC has a number of specialist research teams who are experienced with genetically modifying iPSC lines, in line with EBiSC Quality standards, including generation of isogenic controls, introduction of disease variants and introduction of reporters. EBiSC is happy to act as a non-profit intermediary between yourself as a customer and these teams. Please email EBiSC@eurtd.com if you would like to EBiSC to connect you with a relevant team to perform this activity as a fee-for-service activity.

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Does EBiSC record cell line identity?

Cell line identity is recorded on all EBiSC lines using standard 16 allele Satellite Tandem Repeat (STR) testing. The STR profiles of specific lines can be shared directly to users after cell line purchase. These must only be used for cell line authentication.

Please contact ECACC to receive the relevant profile using EBiSC@eurtd.com after you have received your cell line(s).

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What characterisation data come with the cell lines?

Each cell line batch has a Certificate of Analysis that can be downloaded from each cell line page on the ECACC website. This contains details from our cell line characterisation and quality control results. It also contains the passage number, culture conditions and any cell line specific information about morphology and growth patterns. Please see an example Certificate of Analysis.

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How should I culture the cells?

EBiSC has simplified the feeder-free culture conditions of the iPSC lines it provides. Each cell line can be cultured using a core set of defined media/matrix combinations, including use of mTeSRTM1 and Essential 8TM media and Matrigel/Geltrex and Vitronectin matrices. The conditions recommended for your chosen cell line(s) are detailed in the batch specific Certificate of Analysis that accompanies the line(s) and on the specific Cell Line page on the website. Instructions on the different culture protocols can be found in the EBiSC Protocol for Culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells document. This covers all the different media/matrix combinations.

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How should I thaw the cells?

Cells are typically thawed into 1 to 2 well(s) of a 6 well plate coated with the appropriate matrix. You must check the Certificate of Analysis for cell line specific guidance. General thawing and culture instructions can be found in the EBiSC Protocol for Culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, available on the website.

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How are cell lines cryopreserved?

All lines are cryopreserved in DMSO based cryoprotectant. Please refer to your Certificate of Analysis for cell line batch specific details. Please see an example Certificate of Analysis here.

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How many cells are contained in each vial?

EBiSC iPS cell lines are typically cryopreserved with between 1 and 2 million cells per vial.

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What does a vial of cells cost?

The basic tariff price for EBiSC iPS cell lines is £700 per vial. This facilitates the not-for-profit operations of the Bank, including maintenance of facilities and the expansion and Quality Control of EBiSC iPSC lines.

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How do I purchase a cell line?

For a full description please download the tutorial PDF.

When you have selected one or more lines listed in the EBiSC catalogue, and reviewed the specific Cell Line Information Pack that accompanies each, you can use the purchase buttons located on the cell line page to be taken to the ECACC website to purchase the line. If you are new to ECACC, you will be asked to register as a new ECACC user. Upon placing your order, you will be sent an EBiSC Access & Use Agreement (AUA; see an example Access & Use Agreement here) and Cell Line Information Pack (see an example CLIP here), also available on the Catalogue and the ECACC website prior to purchase. The AUA and CLIP must be completed by your organisation and submitted to ECACC along with appropriate payment prior to shipment of the cells. For further information on purchase related questions please contact culturecollections@phe.gov.uk.

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For all iPSC lines which have been deposited into EBiSC, a review has been carried out to ensure that at the point of primary tissue procurement, consent was obtained in line with EBiSC requirements. EBiSC has also developed its own templates which, when used by the procuring organisation, can greatly simplify the process, available here. These have gained a positive ethics opinion for collection of blood or skin samples from adults aged 18-75. Users are welcome to use these templates to develop consent documents for their own sample collection activities. Please note that local consent documents based on these templates still need to be ethically reviewed according to local regulations.

Where contributors have used their own consent documents, these will have been reviewed to ensure that following aspects are covered:

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How will the cell lines be shipped?

The standard shipment method for less than 20 vials within Europe will be on dry ice. Alternative preferences such as use of a Dry Shipper can be discussed with ECACC at the point of purchase.

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How much does shipping cost?

Standard shipping costs for frozen lines start from just £35. For details on shipping costs please refer to the ECACC delivery charges page. For further information on purchase related issues please contact culturecollections@phe.gov.uk.

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How are the EBiSC cell lines named?

HiPSC lines deposited into EBiSC are named using the recognised system developed by hPSCreg, the human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry.

The hPSCreg catalogue uses a systematic naming scheme which identifies the depositor and the fact the line is an iPSC. The name indicates:

For example, the first clone from the second donor from the Universitätsklinik Bonn is UKBi002-A.

Some line names may have a final number appended to them to indicate a sub-clone, such as might be generated via gene editing a line. The first gene edited isogenic control of this line denoted as UKBi002-A-1.

For more information on cell line nomenclature please visit the hPSCreg website. This system is also detailed in Kurtz et al, 2018.

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What is hPSCreg?

hPSCreg.eu is the human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry, a database for pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells). hPSCreg collects and publicly releases information about stem cell lines from the groups who derive them. The database is hosted and maintained by the Charité Medical University, Berlin. All EBiSC cell lines are registered on hPSCreg. For more information please refer to the hPSCreg about pages.

The registry encourages feedback information, including publications, specific findings such as differentiation bias, or abstracts of projects in which the cells are being used. This information can be added to the cell line related data. Please contact hPScreg for any questions.

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When I obtain an EBiSC cell line, do I become the owner of the material?

No. The depositor remains the owner of the cell line. You, as a user, are granted a right to use the banked material for research purposes. The ‘research use’ permitted by the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement includes research involving development of products, as well as steps involved in making products fit for commercial market, including procedures for protection of intellectual property (e.g. filing for patents) related to novel IP generated during the course of the work. One exception to ‘research use’ is that a User may not conduct research activities under contract to third parties external to its organisation. To use EBiSC cell lines to provide ‘fee for service’ research activities (drug screening, for example) a User would be required to obtain the approval of, or enter into separate legal arrangements with, the Depositor of the cell line. Users must also adhere to any Third Party Obligations as outlined in the Cell Line Information Pack received with the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement.

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The ownership of the material which results from a gene editing experiment is determined by a number of factors. Where the changes to the cell line result in a substance that is significantly different from the original banked material, it is considered a ‘derivative’, which you would own. Such a substance might be i. derived from, ii. a modification of, iii. a product of the use of, or iv. wholly or partially incorporate, the original cell line. Any Third Party Obligations originating from production of the original parental iPSC line are still applicable to sub-clone derivatives.

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Can for-profit organisations purchase and use EBiSC lines in research?

EBiSC encourages commercial organisations to use EBiSC cell lines for research purposes, both basic and developmental. The ‘research use’ permitted by the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement includes research which aims to develop products as well as steps involved in making them fit for commercial market, including procedures for protection of intellectual property (e.g. filing for patents) related to novel IP generated during the course of the work.

One exception to ‘research use’ is that a User may not conduct research activities under contract to third parties external to its organisation. To use EBiSC cell lines to provide ‘fee for service’ research activities (drug screening, for example) a User would be required to obtain the approval of, or enter into separate legal arrangements with, the Depositor of the cell line.

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Can EBiSC lines be used for commercial purposes?

EBiSC iPSC lines can be used by commercial companies for research purposes only, under the standard EBiSC Access & Use Agreement. This ‘research use’ includes research which aims to develop products as well as steps involved in making them fit for commercial market. However, under the standard EBiSC Access & Use Agreement, a user cannot use EBiSC lines for commercial purposes. This includes ‘fee for service’ research activities, such as differentiating EBiSC iPSC lines and/or performing drug screening activities for a third party, for a fee.

To use EBiSC lines for commercial purposes such as those outlined above, the user must obtain approval of, or enter into separate legal arrangements with, the Depositor of the specific cell line(s). Please contact EBiSC directly at EBiSC@eurtd.com if you have specific cell line(s) which you wish to discuss commercialisation of, with the Depositor.

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What restrictions are there on the use of EBiSC cell lines?

One of EBiSC’s main goals is to increase the accessibility of quality iPS cell lines to researchers and promote their use in disease modelling and other forms of biomedical research. The use of EBiSC cell lines is however bounded by certain parameters that users should be aware of:

1. Research use only. At present, all cell lines in the EBiSC catalogue are ‘research grade’, not ‘clinical grade’, and are thus for research use only. Uses of EBiSC lines in clinical procedures, or for the purpose of human reproductive cloning, are prohibited.

2. No ‘fee for service’ research activities. The ‘research use’ definition adopted by EBiSC permits public and private sector research, but doesn’t include research activities if they are carried out under commercial contract to third parties. Fee for service activities might include, for example, iPS cell differentiation into a specific cell or tissue type to enable a researcher to run drug screening assays. Users wishing to conduct fee for service contract work or otherwise carry out direct exploitation of EBiSC cells should contact the Depositor of the cell line to negotiate a commercial agreement.

3. Local law and regulations. Depending on the legal jurisdiction in which research is conducted, local laws and regulations may impose different and potentially more restrictive norms of conduct on research than are anticipated by EBiSC policies. Users should inform themselves therefore, before ordering EBiSC cell lines, about any applicable rules or informal guidance that might define or limit the use of such cell lines in the intended place of use.

4. Obligations of the Depositor to third parties. EBiSC discourages Depositors from imposing their own criteria for use of cell lines that they deposit voluntarily with the Bank, but is realistic about the fact that Depositors may be legally bound to third parties, such as patent or other rights holders, to pass on certain obligations to the User. EBiSC passes on to the User information about these obligations provided by the Depositor (such as a requirement to contact the rights holder, or enter into a new licence to use the cell lines) using the Cell Line Information Pack available on each cell line page, before an EBiSC AUA is entered into.

5. Respect for donor-imposed restrictions. Third party obligations would include any constraints on the use of cell lines defined by the donor of original tissue from which the iPS cells originate. As far as possible, EBiSC cell lines will be supported by the consent of the primary tissue donor to allow all types of iPSC research anticipated for EBiSC Users. In some cases, however, cell lines will be of sufficient research interest to be placed in the catalogue despite limitations imposed by the donor such as a specification of academic use, or research in a specific disease category. In these instances, the User will be made aware of the donor’s wishes using the Cell Line Information Pack available on each cell line page, and take sole responsibility for respecting them.

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What does ‘Restricted Distribution’ mean?

The vast majority of EBiSC lines can be accessed directly from ECACC. However, a small number of lines have restrictions on their distribution, meaning that they are not stored at ECACC and ECACC cannot oversee the cell line purchase. Instead, you will be directed towards a different institution to request access for the lines. In this instance, the EBiSC Access and use agreement is not applicable and terms of use should be discussed directly with the host institute.

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Do I need an Academia Japan licence to access and use EBiSC lines?

Commercial users (for-profit entities) will, prior to receipt and use of this EBiSC Cell line, need to have an appropriate patent license from iPS AJ even for its research use.

Academic users (academic or not-for-profit entities) will not need a patent license from iPS AJ for its research use. However, if the academic user uses this EBiSC Cell line for a purpose other than independent research use, the academic user might need to obtain an appropriate patent license from iPS AJ. For inquiries to iPS AJ, please contact at license@ips-ac.co.jp.

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How do I deposit an iPSC line into EBiSC?

Deposition of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell line(s) into EBiSC is a four-step process. See For depositors for more details. EBiSC has a dedicated BioSample Acquisition team to help collate the required information and guide you through the process. Please email EBiSC@eurtd.com with any queries.

1) First, you need to provide initial information on the cell lines to be deposited, the background of the donor(s), the original bio-specimens and what consent was obtained. This can be done using our Depositor Initial Application form.

2) We will ask you to share copies of the template Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form with us which were used during sample collection. These must be anonymized or coded (pseudonymized).

3) We will then collect information from you on cell line derivation, culture and characterisation. This must be entered at hPSCreg.eu. At the time of registration in hPSCreg a standard name will be generated, which serves as a unique identifier.

4) We will then complete the EBiSC Material Deposit Agreement with you (EMDA) to allow us to distribute your cells for you.

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Who has deposited iPSC lines into EBiSC?

A variety of commercial, non-commercial and academic centres of excellence across Europe have deposited their iPSC lines into EBiSC. This includes collaboration with large iPSC projects such as HipSci and StemBANCC in addition to smaller projects such as CRACK-IT challenges and collaboration with academic research groups such as The Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre and University College London.

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What are the benefits of depositing my cells with EBiSC?

Deposition of iPSC lines into EBiSC has a range of benefits, these include:

The benefits for a consortium creating cell lines:

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Can EBiSC perform iPSC banking and Quality Control for me?

Yes, EBiSC has extensive experience in expansion, banking and Quality Control of hiPSC lines derived across a multitude of primary material, reprogramming methods, media, matrices and diseases. EBiSC is happy to act as a non-profit intermediary between yourself as a customer and the relevant teams. Please email EBiSC@eurtd.com if you would like to EBiSC to connect you with a relevant team to perform iPSC banking and/or QC as a fee-for-service activity.

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Can EBiSC perform gene-editing for me?

Yes, EBiSC has a number of specialist research teams who are experienced with genetically modifying iPSC lines, in line with EBiSC Quality standards, including generation of isogenic controls, introduction of disease variants and introduction of reporters. EBiSC is happy to act as a non-profit intermediary between yourself as a customer and these teams. Please email EBiSC@eurtd.com if you would like to EBiSC to connect you with a relevant team to perform this activity as a fee-for-service activity.

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If I deposit cells with EBiSC, how does this affect my ownership of them?

If you deposit iPSC line(s) into EBiSC, your institution remains the owner of the line(s) and users are given the right to use the line for research.

If an end user wishes to commercially exploit EBiSC lines, it is the responsibility of the User to contact the Depositor directly to determine whether express permission or agreement in support of the commercial activity is required. These requirements are clearly highlighted in the agreements that purchasers have to sign before lines are distributed to them.

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If I change my mind, can I have my cell lines and associated information returned to me?

Any original iPSC material that has been deposited with EBiSC, but not wholly consumed in the qualification process, may be returned to the Depositor upon request. You may also request the return of any unconsumed primary tissue samples from which the iPSC lines were made if EBiSC partners have been involved in the reprogramming process.+

However, once the iPSC lines are qualified and made available in the EBiSC catalogue they, and any original data required to describe the cell lines, cannot be returned to the Depositor.

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Once I have deposited cells with EBiSC, am I prevented from sharing these lines directly with others?

No. Your agreement to let EBiSC bank and distribute your cell lines does not limit your own ability to share the cell lines with others. EBiSC does encourage Depositors to support the mutual aim of the EBiSC project, which is to act as a hub for dissemination of quality-controlled cells to researchers worldwide.

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Is deposition of cells with EBiSC a free process?

Yes. If EBiSC agrees to deposit your cells then you will not be asked to pay for this process.

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Do I have to be an EBiSC project partner to deposit cells with EBiSC?

No. Anyone can apply to have lines deposited with EBiSC.

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What information will I need to provide before lines can be deposited?

EBiSC must be able to trace the terms of consent given by the individual who voluntarily donated a tissue sample for derivation of the iPS cell line. You will need to provide an anonymised copy of the consent form together with the accompanying Participant Information Sheet. The consent must:

Where the consent paperwork is acceptable, you will be asked to upload data such as the age, sex and if applicable disease of the donor and the passage number, reprogramming technology and media requirements to thehPSCreg website.

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Can I assume that EBiSC will accept all and any of the lines I wish to deposit?

No, deposit is subject to EBiSC approval of each line you wish to deposit into the Bank. The EBiSC catalogue will be selectively developed according to the needs of the research community and resources of the Bank to characterise and curate them.

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What does the Bank do with cell lines that I deposit?

After review and approval of the consent obtained at tissue procurement, completion of an EBiSC Material Deposit Agreement (EMDA), and collection of cell line characterisation data into the hPSCreg portal, a number of vials (3-5) can be shipped to one of our Central Facilities either in Germany or the UK. The Bank may then further characterise and expand the cell line, and cryopreserve 30-50 vials for storage and distribution. The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) in the UK will distribute vials to users, and all deposited lines are stored long-term at the ‘mirror bank’ established by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) in Sulzbach, Germany, in a secure storage facility.

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If more than one entity has been involved in the generation of cell lines that are ultimately deposited in the Bank, does it matter which party deposits them? Is there any financial benefit to being the designated Depositor?

It is the responsibility of the entities involved in tissue collection, cell line generation and manipulation to agree who ‘owns’ the cell line and will deposit the lines with EBiSC. Depending on investments of time, expertise and funds the Depositor may be the organisation that carried out the reprogramming to create the iPSC line, the party conducting further work such as gene editing to generate a variant of the line, the party who collected the original tissue sample from which the iPSC line was derived or perhaps a third party who has commissioned one of the others to undertake such work.

Deposition of cell lines into the EBiSC catalogue is a voluntary contribution which does not carry any explicit financial or commercial advantage. If a User of an EBiSC line should foresee commercial activity involving a banked cell line, i.e. activities that fall outside the scope of ‘research use’ as defined in the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement, then the User would have all the necessary information to contact a Depositor to obtain permission or licensing arrangements in order to support any such activity.

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As the Depositor, can I restrict or control the purposes for which my cell lines are used?

No. If however, you have an obligation to a third party that cannot be waived, or one that requires that it be passed on to the end user of the cell line, then this ‘Third Party Obligation’ must be identified clearly in the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement. ‘TPO’s would include, for example, ‘reach through’ intellectual property rights of a patent holder, or the limitations imposed by a tissue donor regarding use of their samples in a specific field of research.

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What is hPSCreg?

hPSCreg.eu is the human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry, a database for pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells). hPSCreg collects and publicly releases information about stem cell lines from the groups who derive them. The database is hosted and maintained by the Charité Medical University, Berlin. All EBiSC cell lines are registered on hPSCreg. For more information please refer to the hPSCreg about pages.

The registry encourages feedback information, including publications, specific findings such as differentiation bias, or abstracts of projects in which the cells are being used. This information can be added to the cell line related data. Please contact hPScreg for any questions.

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