Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘genes & development retractions’ Category

Corrections (and one EoC) propagate for distinguished plant biologist, Olivier Voinnet

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Olivier Voinnet

Olivier Voinnet

There may be some deeply rooted issues in the work of high-profile plant biologist Olivier Voinnet, biology department research director at ETH in Zurich. Corrections have continued to pile up months after his work was hit with a barrage of criticism on PubPeer. We’ve tracked a total of seven corrections over the past five months (not including the April retraction of a 2004 paper in The Plant Cell). One of the corrected papers also received an Expression of Concern this week.

Collectively, the corrected papers have accumulated more than 1200 citations.

In January, Voinnet said he planned to correct multiple papers, after receiving “an anonymous email.”

One of the recent corrections we found is for a 2003 article in The Plant Journal, “An enhanced transient expression system in plants based on suppression of gene silencing by the p19 protein of tomato bushy stunt virus,” which details using proteins from a tomato virus to help alter gene expression. The study has been cited 862 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the correction notice, posted June 8:

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Two more retractions appear for prominent MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg

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genes and developmentTwo identical retraction notices have popped up for MIT professor Robert Weinberg, a highly-cited cancer researcher who had a retraction and a correction in 2013, both in Cancer Cell. 

These two new retractions, in Genes and Development, stem directly from another paper by Weinberg and colleagues in Cell that will apparently be retracted, as the “same analytical methodology was used,” according to the notices [see bottom of the post for an update].

Weinberg is highly regarded, and at least 20 of his papers have been cited over a thousand times.

First author Scott Valastyan was a promising postdoc at the time of the paper’s publication. He was a 2011 Runyon Fellow at Harvard, a three-year, $156,000 award for outstanding cancer postdocs. He doesn’t seem to have published anything since 2012, though he is listed as a joint inventor with Weinberg on patents filed in 2009 and 2014.

Here are the notices for “Concomitant suppression of three target genes can explain the impact of a microRNA on metastasis” (cited 73 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge) and “Activation of miR-31 function in already-established metastases elicits metastatic regression” (cited 54 times), both paywalled: Read the rest of this entry »

Another G&D paper retracted, this one for faked data

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Genes & Development (G&D) — a journal published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that published only its second retraction in its 24-year history a few weeks ago, has published another. The study, “PRMT1-mediated arginine methylation of PIAS1 regulates STAT1 signaling,” was published in 2009 and has been cited 22 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The retraction notice places the blame squarely on first author Susanne Weber, who was a graduate student at the time the study was published and signed the retraction. The G&D notice, in the July 1, 2011 issue, reads: Read the rest of this entry »

The way science should work: A swift, clearly worded retraction in G&D, after legitimate questions by another group

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A retraction appeared online last week in Genes & Development (G&D) that neatly brings together a few recent Retraction Watch threads: Whether retraction is appropriate for a failure to replicate, and whether retraction notices should give enough detail for readers to know what actually happened.

The retraction notice, for “Alternative splicing produces high levels of noncoding isoforms of bHLH transcription factors during development,” by Rahul N. Kanadia and Constance L. Cepko, reads: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 21st, 2011 at 9:30 am

So when is a retraction warranted? The long and winding road to publishing a failure to replicate

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Sometime in 2009, the University of Nottingham’s Uwe Vinkemeier thought something was wrong with two papers he read in Genes & Development, one from 2006 and one from 2009. The papers claimed to show how changes to a protein called STAT1 affect programmed cell death. So he did what scientists are supposed to do: He tried to repeat the experiments, to replicate the results.

He couldn’t.

So he submitted the results to G&D, which was initially willing to publish the data along with a rebuttal by the original authors. But everyone seemed to be dragging their feet. Read the rest of this entry »