Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘genetics retractions’ Category

EMBO takes back Voinnet’s award, investigates other awardee who just lost a Nature Genetics paper

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Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.41.20 AMEMBO has taken back an award given to beleaguered plant biologist Olivier Voinnet in 2009, and is investigating a recent grantee who had a paper retracted from Nature Genetics yesterday.

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) “promotes excellence in the life sciences” in Europe, in part by awarding prizes to promising young scientists. Voinnet and Sonia Melo earned their awards by exhibiting potential as young scientists studying genetics — of plants and cancer, respectively — but now EMBO is skeptical of the papers that formed the basis of their applications.

Melo’s Installation Grant from EMBO was announced just last month, and consists of 50,000 Euros annually for three to five years. She is currently based at the University of Porto, in Portugal.

Voinnet’s problems are well-documented on this blog — 21 corrections, seven retractions, and two investigations. Earlier this week, we reported that the Swiss National Science Foundation had cut off Voinnet’s funding, and banned him for three years. Read the rest of this entry »

Seralini paper claiming GMO toxicity disappears after journal domain expires

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SJASA paper claiming genetically modified corn may be toxic over long periods has disappeared one day after it was presented at a press conference, after the journal’s domain name expired.

The paper, co-authored by Gilles Seralini — who has published controversial research showing harms of GM food — appeared in the Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Sciences (SJAS). On Tuesday, the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (Criigen) scheduled a press conference about the findings, noting the finding presented

new scientific data on Bt toxins and a thorough study of the records show that this GMO Bt maize is most probably toxic over the long term.

But on Wednesday January 27, the journal’s domain name expired. This isn’t a retraction per se, but a disappearance. Now, any link to the study “Pathology reports on the first cows fed with Bt176 maize (1997–2002)” goes to this page, which says in the bottom right corner: Read the rest of this entry »

Here are the 10 — yes, 10 — reasons PLOS ONE retracted this paper

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Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.50.25 AMPLOS One is retracting a paper for overlapping with a Wikipedia page. And for containing material lifted from other sources. And for “language errors.” And for insufficient evidence that authors found the pathogens floating around in hospital air that they claimed to find.

The instances of plagiarism are a “huge problem,” each “enough for retraction on its own,” Jonathan Eisen, a microbiologist at the University of California, Davis, told us. Eisen, who posted several comments to the paper after its publication in October, added that the paper was “simply not technically sound.”

The paper — which even contains a spelling error in its title, “Metagenomic Human Repiratory Air in a Hospital Environment” — describes a gene sequencing method to screen the air in hospitals for pathogens. The retraction note lists 10 concerns with the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

Paper on pine tree genetics chopped for duplication

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naslovna_vol6_no2A paper on genetic variability in Austrian pine trees apparently didn’t vary enough from other work.

The journal is now retracting the 2012 paper for having significant overlap with another paper published in 2008. Another researcher pointed out the duplication — which was unintentional, according to the note, the result of

an apparent failure in communication between the co-authors on both papers which caused the papers to be overlapped.

The overlapping papers share a first author, Aleksandar Lucic, who works at the Institute of Forestry in Serbia. The other author on both papers is Vasilije Isajev, at the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade.

Analysis of Genetic Variability of Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra Arnold) in Serbia Using Protein Markers” was published in South-East European Forestry. The journal is not indexed on Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the retraction note:

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Three expressions of concern added to cancer researcher’s notice list

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3.coverQuestions about data and conclusions in papers by a cancer researcher at the University of Maryland have led to three expressions of concern in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The notices follow four retractions — two for image duplications and two for unknown reasons — for Anil K. Jaiswal. The three papers under notice are all on mechanisms that regulate gene expression; PubPeer commenters have raised questions about some of the figures in the papers.

The expression of concern on all three papers reads, in full:

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Paper claiming GMO dangers retracted amid allegations of data manipulation

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FNS2015012717103119A nutrition journal is retracting a paper about potential dangers of eating food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for duplicating a figure, as news stories from Italy are reporting accusations that the last author falsified some of his research.

In the paper, Federico Infascelli, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples, and his colleagues showed modified genes could wind up in the blood and organs of baby goats whose mothers ate GM soybeans. According our Google Translate version of an article by Italian newspaper La Repubblicaan investigation suggests that Infascelli has manipulated images to suggest GMOs are harmful. He could face fines and be suspended from the university.

La Repubblica reports that a committee appointed by the rector of the university, Gaetano Manfredi, found errors in Infascelli’s data that suggested he had manipulated the results to show GMOs were harmful.

One paper by Infascelli has been retracted from Food and Nutrition Science, Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Kids Born from Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean.” The retraction note says the paper was pulled for duplication:

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Authors retract two papers for “severe conflicts of author sequences”

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A group of authors has earned two retractions for a pair of papers on which they had “severe conflicts of author sequences,” according to the retraction note.

All of the authors were involved in a recent spate of compromised peer review that hit Springer journals back in August. Among the 64 retracted papers this summer, one included all of the authors on the two recently retracted papers, including first author Yan-Zhi Chen. Besides authorship issues, the latest two retractions also contain a “striking similarity to other publications,” according to the retraction notices.

The notes for the two papers are the same, except for the title of the paper. (They are also paywalled, tsk tsk!)

Here’s what the notes say:

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IVF embryo paper pulled for plagiarism, errors, lack of permissions

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6A journal is pulling an article (with approval of “most” of the authors) because a similar paper had already been published in Chinese.

That wasn’t the only problem with Aneuploidy analysis of non-pronuclear embryos from IVF with use of array CGH: a case report,” published in the Journal of Molecular Histology. 

The retraction note lists the three things that led to the paper’s retraction:

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Cancer study pulled when published without supervisor’s consent

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turkish jThe Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences has retracted a paper after concerns surfaced from a researcher who claims to have supervised the research but was not listed as a co-author.

The first author completed the research — which explored the use of epigenetic alterations as potential early signs of cancer — as part of her master’s degree, under the supervision of Muy-Teck Teh at the Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry. When Teh contacted the journal to say he had not consented to the publication, Ayesha Umair claimed she had paid for the research herself.

Here’s the retraction note for “Quantitative study of epigenetic signature in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma,” which tells us more about the dispute: Read the rest of this entry »

Eight retractions for fake reviews lead journal to suspend author nominations

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An investigation has uncovered fake reviews on 21 papers submitted to the Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone System.

After taking a second look at accepted papers with an author-nominated reviewer, the journal discovered that the listed reviewers on the 21 papers, though real people, had never submitted a report.

Eight of the papers have been retracted by JRAAS. The rest had not yet been published, and have now been rejected, explains a commentary by the journal editors. The journal has also stopped allowing authors to nominate reviewers.

The retraction note — the same on all eight papers — explains how the authors “seriously compromised” the review process:

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