Embryonic stem cell paper retracted for fabrication

scadcoverStem Cells and Development has retracted a paper it published earlier this year after the leader of the study reported that the data were unreliable.

The paper, “Derivation and Genetic Modification of Embryonic Stem Cells from Disease-Model Inbred Rat Strains,” came from the lab of Aron Geurts, of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

According to the retraction notice:

The senior author, Dr. Aron M. Geurts, of the article entitled, “Derivation and Genetic Modification of Embryonic Stem Cells from Disease-Model Inbred Rat Strains,” has alerted Stem Cells and Development about concerns over data that warrant the retraction of the article by Yang S, Takizawa A, Foeckler J, Zappa A, Gjoka M, Schilling R, Hansen C, Xu H, Kalloway S, Grzybowski M, Davis GD, Jacob HJ, and Geurts AM, published online May 1, 2013. [DOI: 10.1089/scd.2012.0416; PMID:23635087.]

The senior author’s statement is as follows:

“It has come to our attention that results presented in our published paper (REF) in Stem Cells and Development were misrepresented as being data obtained from rat embryonic stem (ES) cells when, in fact, they were data collected by Dr. Yang during rat induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell studies in our laboratory. Additional supplemental data were also fabricated. At a minimum, the images of rat ES cells in culture after 10 passages in Figure 1 are, in fact, rat iPS cells grown in different culture media conditions. The karyotype image shown in Figure 2 is factually attributed to an iPS culture, whereas a review of the rat ES culture karyotype report actually revealed a mixed karyotype in that specific culture. In addition, the expression of genes in rat ES cells shown in Supplemental Figure 1 do not match Dr. Yang’s experimental notes. On behalf of my co-authors, I apologize to the readers, reviewers, and editors of Stem Cells and Development for the inconvenience this has caused and request at this time that our article be retracted.”

Stem Cells and Development is dedicated to upholding the integrity of scientific publishing, and we commend Dr. Geurts for the responsibility he has demonstrated in the stewardship of this situation. All of the co-authors have indicated their understanding and agreement with the retraction with the exception of first author, Sheng Yang, who understands the rationale but disagrees with the retraction.

We tried to reach Geurts to find out what led him to suspect problems with the data, but did not receive a reply. Nor did we hear back from Yang, whom we asked what about the retraction notice the research found objectionable.

0 thoughts on “Embryonic stem cell paper retracted for fabrication”

  1. Funny, I was at a conference where the editor of SC and Dev was asked if he had any mechanisms in place to detect fraud, image manipulation, and plagiarism. He said no.I bet he does now.

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