A co-author of two papers claiming to have shown how to create stem cells simply and easily has requested their retraction, the Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Teruhiko Wakayama of Yamanashi University in Japan, a co-author of both papers published in Nature, said he has asked the lead author of the papers, Haruko Obokata, to retract them.
“There is no more credibility when there are such crucial mistakes,” he said in an email to The Wall Street Journal. He didn’t elaborate on what the mistakes were.
Nature told the WSJ that it was still investigating the matter. As Nature‘s news section reported last month, lead author
…biologist Haruko Obokata, who is based at the institution…shot to fame as the lead author of two papers1, 2 published in Nature last month that demonstrated a way to reprogram mature mouse cells into an embryonic state by simply applying stress, such as exposure to acid conditions or physical pressure on cell membranes.
The controversy is the latest for the field of stem cells, both embryonic and adult. Among other cases:
- Last month, the University of Dusseldorf found evidence of misconduct in work by a scientist who claimed that bone marrow-derived stem cells could repair diseased hearts.
- A retraction at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Syracuse last year raised similar questions.
- And of course, the case of Woo-Suk Hwang has been back in the news.