Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘pnas’ Category

Voinnet notches second retraction, two more corrections

with 7 comments

PNASOlivier Voinnet — a plant researcher who was recently suspended for two years from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) after an investigation by ETH Zurich and CNRS found evidence of misconduct — has issued his second retraction and two more corrections.

PNAS posted the retraction earlier this week for a 2006 article after an inspection of the raw data revealed “errors” in study images. Authors confirmed the issues in some figures and revealed “additional mounting mistakes” in others.

Voinnet has promised to issue retractions and corrections for every study that requires them. These latest notices bring our tally up to nine corrections, two retractions and one Expression of Concern.

Read the rest of this entry »

PNAS paper on dengue virus pulled due to contamination

without comments

PNAS_ak11smThe authors of a paper on dengue virus vaccine design published last year in PNAS are retracting it after discovering that their experimental dengue virus was contaminated.

Although they are confident that the strategy is sound, the authors write in their commendably detailed retraction notice that the “inadvertent error” rendered the results “uninterpretable.”

Here’s the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alla Katsnelson

May 12th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Second paper for Duke lung researchers expires in a retraction

without comments

pnas 3 5 13Scientists at Duke and the National Institutes of Health have retracted a PNAS paper on asthma treatment after realizing the data from two sources didn’t match, and “most primary data” from several experiments were missing.

The mix up seems to have come from the pulmonary function laboratory that tested how well asthmatic patients’ lungs were functioning on an experimental anti-inflammatory therapy. As the authors say in the retraction note: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

April 6th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Authors retract PNAS Epstein-Barr virus paper for “anomalous and duplicated” figures

with 8 comments

pnas 2515PNAS has retracted a paper on the cancer-causing Epstein-Barr virus just two months after publication, in a notice that fingers a now-former graduate student for manipulating figures.

The paper tries to explain how Epstein-Barr virus blocks the immune system’s attempts to destroy it. According to the notice, the three “nonexperimentalist authors” – identified in the paper as two P.I.’s from University of Texas at Austin and one from the University of California, San Francisco – didn’t know the figures “were not reflective of original Northern blot and immunoblot data.”

That leaves UT Austin PhD student Jennifer Cox under the bus. Her LinkedIn says she pursued a PhD from 2010-2015, though it’s unclear if she’s received a degree. Cox’s name is at the top of P.I. Christopher Sullivan’s list of past lab members, and she’s the only one on the page whose name doesn’t hyperlink to additional information, such as a contact.

The school issued a press release about the study that quoted Cox, which has been removed from the UT site but is still available on Science Daily: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract 2007 PNAS paper on aging due to figure’s “unintentional anomalies”

with 16 comments

pnas 2515The authors of a 2007 PNAS paper that provided molecular details for how calorie restriction may act on Sir2 enzymes to extend life are now retracting their research after discovering a figure was compromised by “several unintentional anomalies in the background image.”

According to study author David W. Piston at Vanderbilt University, first author Qinghong Zhang cut and pasted images together to beautify a figure showing how a form of sugar affects the expression of SIRT1, the mammalian version of the Sir2 enzyme: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 4th, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Authors retract PNAS paper questioned on PubPeer after original films can’t be found

with 29 comments

pnas31912PubPeer leads the way again: The authors of a paper about Parkinson’s disease in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have retracted it, several months after a commenter highlighted the exact issue that led to the article’s demise.

The paper, originally published in September 2013, was called into question by a commenter on PubPeer in July 2014, who identified two of the paper’s figures as duplications: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

October 23rd, 2014 at 10:30 am

Doing the right thing: Authors retract PNAS paper when new experiments show “conclusion was incorrect”

with 19 comments

pnascoverResearchers in Sweden and Australia have retracted a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) after follow-up experiments disproved their conclusions.

Here’s the notice for “Dominant suppression of inflammation by glycan-hydrolyzed IgG,” which is signed by all nine of the paper’s authors: Read the rest of this entry »

A PNAS expression of concern appears — and so does its revealing backstory

with 19 comments

pnas 1113When retraction notices and expressions of concern appear, particularly those that are opaque, we try our best to find out what’s behind them, whether it’s better explanations or the steps that led to moves. Today, we have one story in which we’ve been able to learn a lot more than usual.

In April, Bas van Steensel, Wendy Bickmore, Thomas Cremer, and Kerstin Bystricky sent a letter to about 80 leading labs in nuclear organization and steroid receptor biology. It began (we’ve added some relevant links): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 17th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Scientist in Ireland notches two mysterious retractions and a correction

with 15 comments

Sinead Miggin, via NUIM

Sinead Miggin, via NUIM

Sinead Miggin, a biologist at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, has withdrawn two papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) and has corrected another paper, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Here’s the opaque JBC notice for “14-3-3ϵ and 14-3-3σ inhibit Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated proinflammatory cytokine induction,” a paper first published in November 2012: Read the rest of this entry »

Authors retract PNAS brain genetics paper for statistical issues

with 4 comments

pnas 1113The authors of a paper on brain genetics published online in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) are retracting it for “a potential confound relating to statistical inference.”

Here’s the notice for “Identification of gene ontologies linked to prefrontal–hippocampal functional coupling in the human brain:” Read the rest of this entry »