Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘genetics retractions’ Category

“Obviously stolen” figure squashes mosquito paper in author’s second retraction

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jmr-cover2015The Journal of Mosquito Research has retracted a paper because it contains a figure that “was obviously stolen” from another paper.

The retracted paper’s first author Emtithal M. Abd El-Samiee is now up to two retractions, by our count. Last month, we reported on her fruit fly paper, felled by a faulty gene sequence. On the paper, she is listed as an entomologist at Cairo University.

The note tells us where the figure was stolen from:

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Investigation of prominent geneticist Latchman finds “procedural matters,” no misconduct

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David Latchman, Birkbeck

An investigation by the University College London has cleared prominent geneticist David Latchman of misconduct, but concluded he has “procedural matters in his lab that required attention.”

Latchman has two retracted paperson PubPeer, there are questions about nearly four dozen more.

The results of the investigation were first reported by the Times Higher Education. We also received a short statement from a UCL spokesperson:

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Gold nanoparticle paper crushed by “deliberate and fraudulent use of data”

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Biotechnology Letters has retracted a paper on a new gene delivery technique due to “the deliberate and fraudulent use of data in the paper that had previously appeared in other papers of these two authors.”

The journal’s Editor in Chief Colin Ratledge told us that someone tipped him off that one of the authors, University of Kalyani microbiologist Keka Sarkar, had been self-plagiarizing:

I can say that a person who was familiar with the work of Dr Sarkar got in touch with about their concerns about her publications and, in particular, her paper published in Biotechnology Letters.  They supplied a dossier of her publications showing the obvious duplications of figures and that she had been using the same figures in different papers to illustrate the results from supposedly different experiments.

He found that, indeed, multiple figures in the Biotechnology Letters had appeared in other publications of Sarkar’s, some prior to the paper’s October 2013 publication, and one after. The details are in the whole retraction note:
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Fruit fly paper retracted when gene turns out not to code for a protein as claimed

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1.cover-sourceThe Journal of Insect Science is retracting a paper on the genetics of a fruit fly after discovering one of the genes the authors sequenced doesn’t appear to code for a protein.

The paper, “Molecular phylogeny and identification of the peach fruit fly, Bactrocera zonata, established in Egypt” was published in 2011, and compared sequences of the Egyptian species to those from species in other regions. It has not yet been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Phyllis Weintraub, the editor-in-chief of the journal, told us she thinks that the paper’s fatal mistake stemmed from “bad science instead of deliberate falsification.”

The retraction notice should go live on the site today, according to Lisa Junker, director of publications and communications for the Entomological Society of America, which publishes the journal. Here’s the text:

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“Unethical behavior” breaks crystallography paper

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Molecules and Cells

A 2011 paper about the crystal structure of a transcription regulator has been pulled by Molecules and Cells for “unethical behavior by the authors.”

Unfortunately, we can’t say much more than that, because the notice doesn’t, either: Read the rest of this entry »

Plague or anthrax on the subway? Think again, says now-corrected study

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Cell SystemsAuthors of a widely covered study that documented traces of plague and anthrax on surfaces across New York City have revised the paper after public health officials challenged their interpretations of the data.

It’s hard to overestimate the attention these findings received when first published.

Bubonic plague found in NYC subway,” wrote The Daily Beast.

Your subway seat mate: Bubonic plague, anthrax, & mysterious DNA,” said Yahoo!

NY subway has bubonic plague,” declared Newser.

Not so fast. In an erratum published July 29, the authors write: Read the rest of this entry »

Golden rice paper pulled after judge rules for journal

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home_coverThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is retracting a paper that showed genetically engineered rice serves as an effective vitamin A supplement after a Massachusetts judge denied the first author’s motion for an injunction against the publisher.

The journal announced plans to retract the paper last year following allegations that the paper contained ethical mis-steps, such as not getting informed consent from the parents of children eating the rice, and faking ethics approval documents.

Last July, first author Guangwen Tang at Tufts University filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against the journal’s publisher, the American Society for Nutrition, to stop the retraction.

According to the ASN, on July 17, a Massachusetts Superior Court “cleared the way” for the publisher to retract the paper. So they have, as of July 29. Here’s more from the retraction notice:

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Head of major diagnostic lab in Canada steps down amid investigation

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AJPA_v185_i7_COVER.inddA prominent endocrinologist pathologist has resigned from running the largest hospital diagnostic laboratory in Canada following an investigation that has uncovered evidence of falsified data in two papers, Retraction Watch has learned.

Sylvia Asa was the Program Medical Director of the Laboratory Medicine Program at the University Health Network, affiliated with the University of Toronto, until this past spring when she stepped down, according to UHN spokesperson Gillian Howard:

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Written by Ross Keith

July 24th, 2015 at 4:17 pm

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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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 2004 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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