Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘wrong reagents’ Category

Misidentified genetic sequence causes retraction of pathogen paper one month after publication

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Genome Announcements

The author of an article mapping the genome of an infectious bacterium is pulling the paper because — well, it wasn’t the bacterium she thought it was.

Study author Celia Abolnik is retracting her paper in Genome Announcements because it didn’t actually map out the DNA of Mycoplasma meleagridis, a bacterium that typically infects turkeys but has recently been found in chickens.

The trouble was, the sequence for Mycoplasma meleagridis in the National Institute of Health’s DNA database, Genbank, was actually a different variety of bacteria — Mycoplasma gallinaceum, another scourge of poultry.

Here’s the notice for “Complete Genome Sequence of Mycoplasma meleagridis, a Possible Emerging Pathogen in Chickens:”

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“Values were outside expected ranges”: Toxicology paper spiked after audit

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Toxicological PathologyResearchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have retracted a 2014 article after a review unearthed unresolved problems with the study’s control material.

The retracted paper, “Effect of Temperature and Storage Time on Sorbitol Dehydrogenase Activity in Sprague-Dawley Rat Serum and Plasma,” looked to test the durability and stability of sorbitol dehydrogenase, an enzyme used to detect cancerous liver damage in rats.

Here’s the complete retraction notice from Toxicologic Pathology :

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Written by Ross Keith

June 30th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Nature retraction, resignation result after lung cancer cell lines “cannot be those specified”

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cover_natureUpon realizing they had experienced a case of mistaken cell-line identity, the authors of a 2014 Nature paper on lung cancer think “it prudent to retract pending more thorough investigation,” as they explain in a notice published Wednesday.

The problem seems to stem from more than just honest error, according to corresponding author Julian Downward, a scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK.

In a 1,215 word statement, sent to us via the Director of Research Communications and Engagement at Cancer Research UK, which funds Downward’s research, Downward told us the backstory not presented in the journal’s retraction note:

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Fungus among us, but what kind? Typing error spawns retraction for mushroom paper

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natprodresAs every mushroom lover knows, weekend mycology is no sport for the lily-livered. Tasty species often look awfully like their deadly cousins. Turns out, typing can even be problematic for the experts.

Natural Products Research is retracting a 2014 paper on shelf fungus because… well, it wasn’t about shelf fungus after all.

The paper, “Chemical constituents: water-soluble vitamins, free amino acids and sugar profile from Ganoderma adspersum,” was written by Ibrahim Kivrak, a food chemist at Mugla Sitki Kocman University in Mugla, Turkey. It analyzed the nutritional components of G. adspersum, and found, per the abstract:

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PNAS paper on dengue virus pulled due to contamination

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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

Third structure slip-up for chemist in Korea yields retraction

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Chem_ak3Authors of a 2010 Chemistry – A European Journal article have retracted it “due to the wrong assignment of structure” of catalysts.

The retraction is the third, by our count, for corresponding author Doo Ok Jang, a chemist at Yonsei University in Wonju. Jang authored one of the previously retracted papers with Sung Jun Kim and the other with Sang Yoon Kim. Both papers were also sunk by misassigned structures.

The current study, “Enantioselective Radical Addition to Ketimines: A Synthetic Route Towards α,α-Disubstituted α-Amino Acids,” is authored by all three chemists. Here’s the retraction notice:

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Nature Cell Biology insulin paper retracted over antibody problems

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nature cell biologyNature Cell Biology article on insulin regulation has been retracted after scientists noted that the antibodies used in their research were not as specific as they had previously believed.

The notice is clear on the problems with the science, which together “call into question the main conclusions of the paper.” Three of the paper’s five authors were employed at Novartis at the time of publication.

Here’s the notice for “Wolfram syndrome 1 and adenylyl cyclase 8 interact at the plasma membrane to regulate insulin production and secretion”: Read the rest of this entry »

Cell line switch sinks PLoS ONE cancer paper

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plosWe’ve written before about how common cell line mix ups are in cancer research; according to a 2012 Wall Street Journal article (paywalled), between a fifth and a third of cancer cell lines tested by suspicious researchers turned out to be misidentified.

Obviously, mistakenly studying the wrong kind of cancer is a waste of precious resources, both time and money. And it’s clear the problem hasn’t gone away. PLoS ONE just retracted a cancer paper originally published in December 2012 for studying two cell lines that had been contaminated by other cell types.

Here’s the notice for “Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition Is Required for Acquisition of Anoikis Resistance and Metastatic Potential in Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma”:
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Researchers retract breast cancer study after realizing they were using the wrong antibody

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br j cancerA group of researchers at Istanbul University has swiftly retracted a paper they published in March in the British Journal of Cancer once it became clear that they were using the wrong antibody.

Here’s the notice for “Clinical significance of p95HER2 overexpression, PTEN loss and PI3K expression in p185HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab-based therapies:” Read the rest of this entry »

Researchers repeat retracted study, republish in same journal sans first author

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biol psychWe’ve been following the case of Amine Bahi, a neuroscience researcher in the United Arab Emirates who has managed something unusual in the annals of Retraction Watch: Three different retractions for three completely different reasons. One was for “legal issues,” another was for lack of IRB approval, and the third was for using RNAs from the wrong species.

Now, Bahi’s co-authors have repeated the last of those studies with the right RNAs, and have republished their paper in the same journal, Biological Psychiatry — but without Bahi.

The retraction notice for “Blockade of Protein Phosphatase 2B Activity in the Amygdala Increases Anxiety- and Depression-Like Behaviors in Mice” now includes this final paragraph: Read the rest of this entry »