Forensics Friday: How was this image manipulated?

Ever wanted to hone your skills as a scientific sleuth? Now’s your chance.

Thanks to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), which is committed to educating authors on best practices in publishingfigure preparation, and reproducibility, we’re presenting the second in a series, Forensics Friday.

Take a look at the image below, and then take our poll. After that, click on the link below to find out the right answer.

Think you chose the right answer? Click here to find out.

And check out last week’s Forensics Friday.

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13 thoughts on “Forensics Friday: How was this image manipulated?”

  1. These are fun to do on the iPad, after saving and then editing the image. Apple could help ‘science’ by adding a few kinky Look-Up-Tables to the options (perhaps based on ORI’s gradient map forensic tool). That would enable readers of the research literature to easily ‘check’ an image. Kudos RW. Can images be made higher res?

  2. In addition to the manipulation(s) discussed, the main band in rightmost lane (elution) looks a lot like a horizontal inversion of the same sized band in flow through.

  3. Here’s the trick. The way to prove to yourself that there’s manipulation and the lanes aren’t just really REALLY similar and have legit data that just looks “too good” is to open the gel in max resolution. Now, since the gel was a straight photo of the old gel, there are splatter patterns of creamy gray-colored dirt on the gel surface. Compare the splatter patterns in the flowthrough and two wash lanes.

  4. RW’s poll however showed that most people missed the less obvious features, namely ones that could be made more visible if there were some additional look up tables available for ready use on whatever platform they use to read science. Today, those are more likely than not to be ‘mobile’, aka IPads and the like, rather than Photshop-friendly devices. Someone . . . or some entity (hint, hint). . . would do a lot for science by encouraging Apple to add some targeted LUTs for that purpose on mobile platforms. Does anyone know of an App that might work?

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