1. Criminal charges against chronic fatigue syndrome researcher dropped
The state of Nevada has dropped criminal charges against Judy Mikovits, the embattled chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) researcher whose paper linking the condition to a virus, XMRV, was retracted last year by Science.
As we reported in November, Mikovits was arrested in Ventura County, California on an “out of county warrant” from Washoe County, Nevada, for allegedly taking lab notebooks, a computer, and other material from the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nevada, after the WPI fired her in September.
The first report on the dropped charges was apparently by Mikovits’ friend Lilly Meehan on Facebook, news that was picked up by the ProHealth website on June 13 (their post has since been updated). Later that day, ScienceInsider’s Jon Cohen, who has been covering the case closely, reported that
On 11 June, the district attorney’s office for Washoe County filed a petition to dismiss the criminal charges against Mikovits without prejudice (which means they can file a related complaint in the future), a clerk to the Justice Court of Reno told ScienceInsider.
The reason why the charges were dropped was yet another strange twist in a story that has had its share. As Cohen noted, and as the Chicago Tribune’s Trine Tsouderos also reported on June 15:
[WPI attorney Ann] Hall said the charges were dismissed not because the case lacked merit but because of issues related to the family of institute founder Annette Whittemore. Her husband, Harvey, a Nevada lobbyist and lawyer, was indicted June 6 by a federal grand jury on charges he made illegal campaign contributions to a congressman, caused a campaign committee to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and lied to FBI agents, according to the Department of Justice.
2. Author of ‘gyres’ paper whose press release was retracted publishes new study
Erik Andrulis, the Case Western researcher whose paper in a then-new journal that was met with disbelief in the blogosphere — and led Case Western to retract a press release about it — has published a new study.
Andrulis’ sole-authored “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life,” which appeared in the journal Life, concluded:
…this catholic theory provides an innovative and elegant solution to the origin, evolution, and nature of life in the cosmos. I humbly proffer my theory as a viable system for knowing life.
The new paper, “Dis3- and exosome subunit-responsive 3′ mRNA instability elements,” has four co-authors and appears in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Unlike Andrulis’ paper in Life, which didn’t contain any experiments, this one reports on data.
The conclusion of the new paper is much more typical of scientific discussions than that of the Life paper:
In summary, we have identified two potential Dis3- and exosome-directed instability elements in 3′ UTRs of certain Drosophila mRNAs using RNA SCOPE. Based upon ESSE enrichment in our microarray-identified stabilized RNA pool, we suggest that the exosome and/or exozymes may be directly recruited to these mRNAs. Given the widespread roles for Dis3 and the exosome in mRNA turnover, processing, transport, packaging, and surveillance, our study provides new insight into how they regulate distinct steps in general mRNA metabolism.