Shikeagi Kato, an endocrinologist formerly of the University of Tokyo who resigned on March 31 amidst an investigation into his work, has retracted another paper, this one in Nature.
Here’s the notice for “DNA demethylation for hormone-induced transcriptional derepression,” which was the subject of a correction last October:
In this Letter, we claimed that hormone-regulated transcriptional control involves DNA demethylation mediated by MBD4. Subsequently, we corrected some figure panels that appeared to have been erroneously prepared (Corrigendum, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v480/n7375/full/nature10604.html). However, we later found that other figure panels contained data duplications. After further review, we now conclude that the results presented in the original figures had been inappropriately manipulated, and given these more serious concerns we no longer have confidence in the original figures. We therefore wish to retract this Letter and sincerely apologise for any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper’s publication.
Those adverse consequences are likely to begin with headaches for the authors of 94 papers that cited the study, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. (The citations via Thomson Scientific, not the headaches.)
The Corrigendum, by the way, ended with an all-too-common scientific version of “We’re sorry! But nothing to see here”:
Our results and conclusions are not affected by these errors, but we apologise for the careless mistakes made.
Apparently, the inappropriate manipulations — pardon us, “errors” — did affect the results and conclusions.
…was prompted by an outside whistleblower’s allegations in January about 24 of Kato’s papers. The whistleblower claimed that the papers manipulated and reused data improperly, and created a YouTube video to spread the word, as ScienceInsider reported earlier this year.
Hat tip: Genevra Pittman