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The national Tetrahymena Stock Center (TSC), located at Cornell University, is a centralized repository and distribution site for a variety of Tetrahymena strains and species. TSC maintains a diverse array of a wild type, mutant, and genetically engineered strains of T. thermophila, the most commonly used laboratory species, and a variety of other species derived from both laboratory maintained stocks and wild isolates. All stocks are stored in liquid nitrogen to maintain genetic integrity and prevent senescence. In addition to providing worldwide access to strains currently in the collection, TSC continually upgrades the collection by accepting deposition of newly developed laboratory strains and well-characterized wild isolates collected from clearly defined natural sites.

The Tetrahymena Stock Center is pleased to be a part of the Resource Identification Initiative, a project aimed at clearly identifying key research resources used in the course of scientific research. All citations for Tetrahymena stored in the Tetrahymena Stock Center can now also be found at, a portal where publishers of participating journals can direct authors during the publication process.

In addition to live Tetrahymena cultures, TSC also provides purified genomic DNA from strains in the collection, and an array of plasmids commonly used in the Tetrahymena system.

Biolistic transformation services for both germinal and somatic nuclei are now available through TSC. Transformation in Tetrahymena occurs only via homologous recombination, allowing targeted modification of specific genes and site-specific gene knock-ins, knock-outs, and gene tagging. Expression vectors facilitating overexpression of proteins are also available.

The Tetrahymena Genome Database (TGD) is a user-updatable Wiki database that provides genome sequence information for four Tetrahymena species, T. thermophila, T. borealis, T. malaccensis, and T. elliotti.  The TGD Wiki provides information on the Tetrahymena genomes, genes, and proteins, and is designed to facilitate community annotation of the Tetrahymena genome.

TSC actively supports the use of Tetrahymena in educational outreach activities through interactions with the NIH SEPA funded ASSET (Advancing Secondary Science Education through Tetrahymena) program. ASSET has developed a number of K – 12 educational activities that use live Tetrahymena in a hands-on inquiry driven approach to teaching basic scientific concepts. A description of available Tetrahymena based teaching modules can be found here.

Recipes for various growth and starvation media, as well as links to protocols for growing and freezing Tetrahymena, are provided here.

Funding for the Stock Center is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant 2 P40 OD010964-10 J.

Please remember to acknowledge the Tetrahymena Stock Center when you use materials either directly from the collection, or derived from the collection. This is our most important way of demonstrating the value of the materials at the Center.

Superimposition of all optical planes obtained for each cell reciliating for 15 minutes (Z projection) in the TpCCTα localization. Image courtesy of Helena Soares, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.