12:34 PM

Animal trafficking?!

Those of you out there who work with cell lines will appreciate this little story. Here's a pseudo-transcript of a phone conversation that I had with a guy at ATCC.

Me: I'm interested in the marmoset cell line B95-8, but can't seem to find it on your website.
ATCC: Ah, you want to make EBV? Well, I can tell you that you can't get your hands on that if your life depended on it
Me: Oh? [I'm not really interested in making EBV, but I wanted information on that cell line]
ATCC: Yeah. The endangered animal people have made it illegal for us to sell it now because selling it would mean we were trafficking goods produced from an endangered species. Unless you have approval that shows that the only reason you're buying this cell line is because you're going to use it to do research on how to save the marmoset, you can't get it.
Me: (O.O) Wow.

Pretty crazy, huh? In the end, the question that I had didn't get answered, but boy was it an interesting phone call!


Adrienne said...

Um, weird! We probably have more B95-8 than we know what to do with (they grow like weeds, anyway), I didn't know that ATCC wouldn't sell it anymore.

And the "reasoning" is just so silly, these are immortalized cells, the marmoset it came from is probably dead, no more marmosets will be harmed by distributing these cells!

So if we were to give B95-8 to a different lab, does that mean we would be trafficking in illegal goods? Would we get in trouble?

Karen said...

Yeah, ATCC will only sell the supernatent now.

Crazy, huh? They made the case that no marmosets were harmed in the creation of the line, and the marmoset that it came from, like, 20 odd years ago probably died of old age, but the wildlife people wouldn't budge.

So, yeah, no sending B95-8 around cuz that would be considered trafficking if you were caught. I'm not sure what they would say if you labeled the cells as, say, CHO cells, and shipped them to the other lab.

It's a stupid loophole in the law, cuz nothing is stopping people from growing the cells if they have them already. If having marmoset goods really was the problem, they wouldn't let people grow them at all, which would also be equally stupid.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for B95-8 cell now. Do you have this cell line now?