AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between primary cell culture and cell line?

Posted November 6, 2023


Basis of differentiation

Primary cell culture

Cell line


Primary cell culture is the growing and regulation of the specific cell type which has been removed from parental tissue

Is a cell culture derived from a single cell, composed of cells with identical genetic material

Significance in vivo

Is an in vivo model

Is not an in vivo model, 


Has a limited lifespan

Has an unlimited lifespan in  culture

Donor characteristics

Exhibits donor characteristics

Does not exhibit any donor characteristics

Relation to parent tissue

Has the same genetic features as the parent tissue

Has an altered genetic makeup compared to its parent tissue 


Is unable to use passaging

Can be regulated by using passaging

Isolation mechanism

Is isolated directly from its donor

Is isolated from primary cell culture through immortalization

Additional resources

Cell culture

Cell Proliferation Assays

Screen Quest™ CHO-Gqs Chimera Cell line