ATCC is a private, nonprofit biological resource center (BRC) and research organization whose mission focuses on the acquisition, authentication, production, preservation, development and distribution of standard reference microorganisms, cell lines and other materials for research in the life sciences.
ATCC was established in 1925 when a committee of scientists recognized a need for a central collection of microorganisms that would serve scientists all over the world. The early years were spent at the McCormick Institute in Chicago until the organization moved to Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 1937. As research in the biosciences expanded, ATCC began to diversify its holdings, and as the collections grew ATCC occupied a series of sites, each providing more storage space. ATCC moved to its current state-of-the-art building in 1998.
ATCC’s collections include a wide range of biological materials for research, including cell lines, molecular genomics tools, microorganisms and bioproducts. The organization holds a collection of more than 3,400 human, animal and plant cell lines. The molecular genomics collection at ATCC contains 8 million cloned genes from a host of species, including human, mouse, soybean, rat, monkey, zebrafish and several disease vectors. ATCC’s microorganism collection includes more than 18,000 strains of bacteria, 2,000 different types of animal viruses and 1,000 plant viruses. In addition, ATCC maintains collections of protozoans, yeasts and fungi with over 49,000 yeast and fungi strains and 2,000 strains of protists.