Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘genetics retractions’ Category

Plant biologist loses three papers that made up a duplication ring

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A biologist in India has lost three papers that appear to have been part of a network of duplications.

One paper published in 2012 was retracted — at the researcher’s request — for copying from a 2010 paper of his. In turn, both papers were duplicated in a paper that was published in 2016, and retracted a few months later. That 2016 paper borrowed from another paper published last year, which was quickly retracted after we contacted the journal.

These papers — by Dilip Kumar Das, listed at T. M. Bhagalpur University in India — were flagged in March by a PubPeer commenter.

In December, Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC) retracted Das’s 2012 paper; here’s the retraction notice:

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Surgery chair who blamed image issues on software logs three more retractions

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A researcher who claimed image problems in a retracted paper were the result of a software glitch, and not intentional, has lost three more papers — all for image manipulation.

In two notices, the Journal of Biological Chemistry specifies that duplicated images were used to represent different experimental conditions; one notice simply says the paper was affected by image manipulation.

All of the notices specify the papers are being retracted by the publisher, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology — which this month published a set of recommendations for preparing a paper, including how to avoid excessive manipulation.

The papers were published between 2002 and 2010, and all share the same last author (Paul Kuo, currently chair of surgery at Loyola Medicine) and first author (Hongtao Guo, at Duke).

Here’s the first notice:

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What turned a cancer researcher into a literature watchdog?

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Jennifer Byrne

Sometime in the middle of 2015, Jennifer Byrne, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Sydney, began her journey from cancer researcher to a scientific literature sleuth, seeking out potentially problematic papers.

The first step was when she noticed several papers that contained a mistake in a DNA construct which, she believed, meant the papers were not testing the gene in question, associated with multiple cancer types.  She started a writing campaign to the journal editors and researchers, with mixed success. But less than two years later, two of the five papers she flagged have already been retracted.

When asked why she spent time away from bench research to examine this issue, Byrne told us:  Read the rest of this entry »

Journal cleans the house by retracting 6 cancer papers for plagiarism

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Following an investigation, a genetics journal has pulled six cancer papers published this year for plagiarizing from other sources.

According to an excerpt from the retraction notice in Genetics and Molecular Research, the journal has “strong reason to believe that the peer review process was [a] failure,” and has alerted the authors’ institutions.

The notice announcing the retraction of all six papers begins: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal issues three notices for plant biologist, two citing manipulation

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Researchers have retracted a paper from a plant journal after a probe found problems with several figures.

According to the new retraction notice in The Plant Cell, some figures in the paper were manipulated, as well as “inappropriately duplicated and reused from a previous publication.” The authors assert that they believe the conclusions remain valid.

The journal has also issued two corrections that include some of the same authors — including one that cites inappropriate image manipulation.

Here’s the retraction notice, issued last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Oops: Supposedly untreated cancer patients had surgery, after all

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gmrThe first author of a 2016 paper has retracted it after realizing that all the lung cancer patients that were supposed to have been untreated did, in fact, have surgery to remove their tumors. 

Zhao Kai, the study’s first author from the Qilu Hospital of Shandong University and Zibo Central Hospital (both in China), took full responsibility for the error.

Here’s the retraction notice, published last month in Genetics and Molecular Research: Read the rest of this entry »

Entomology journal retracts 2016 study with flawed analyses

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journal-of-medical-entomologyAn entomology journal has issued its first retraction during the current editor’s nearly 30-year tenure — for a 2016 study with serious flaws in the analyses. 

After the Journal of Medical Entomology (JME) published the study — about the identification of genes that enable an insect to detect odors — an outside researcher wrote a letter to the journal highlighting flaws in the paper. The journal then asked the authors to respond, and enlisted two additional peer reviewers to look into the study, the outside comment, and the authors’ response. They concluded the paper should be retracted.

William Reisen — the journal’s editor-in-chief from the University of California, Davis — said the journal believes the errors were unintentional and there was no fraud on the authors’ part. He added: Read the rest of this entry »

Controversial gene-editing study flagged by Nature journal

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nature-biotechnologyNature Biotechnology has issued an editorial expression of concern (EOC) for a widely criticized study describing a potentially invaluable new lab tool.

The EOC mentions the lack of reproducibility of the gene-editing technique, known as NgAgo. Alongside it, the journal has published a correspondence which includes data from three separate research groups that cast doubt on the original findings.

According to a spokesperson for the journal, some of the paper’s authors have objected to the decision to issue an EOC.

Earlier this month, we reported on a letter signed by 20 researchers which also raised concerns about the genome-editing activities of NgAgo — and alleged the lab that produced the initial results turned away investigators when they attempted to validate the tool in mammalian cells.

Here’s the EOC, published yesterday: Read the rest of this entry »

More questions arise over gene-editing tool

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13238A new letter signed by 20 researchers is casting additional doubts on the validity of a potentially invaluable lab tool — and alleges the lab that produced the initial results turned them away when they tried to replicate its findings in mammalian cells.

In a letter published this week in Protein & Cell, the researchers add their voices to the critics of the gene-editing technique, first described earlier this year in Nature Biotechnology.

The researchers outline their attempts to apply the technique — known as NgAgo — to a variety of cell types, which fell short:

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Genetics study flagged for reliability issues by Frontiers journal

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frontiers-in-geneticsA genetics journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a study after an investigation by its chief editors.

According to the notice in Frontiers in Genetics, the authors of the paper — based at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan — are conducting further experiments to resolve the issues raised by the journal’s investigation.

In February, the same paper received a corrigendum due to errors in the assembly of one of the figures.

Here’s the EOC, issued earlier this week: Read the rest of this entry »