Plant journal withdraws paper — or does it?

mol plantThe temporary withdrawal of a Molecular Plant paper had us scratching our heads, but the issue seems to be explained by a glitch.

If you click on this version of “Application of the CRISPR–Cas System for Efficient Genome Engineering in Plants” (subscription required), you see this:

This paper has been withdrawn pending a decision by the Editorial Board

But that page also says that the latest version of the paper was published on October 3. Clicking on that version sends you to the paper, which begins:

Recently, engineered endonucleases, such as Zinc-Finger Nucleases (ZFNs) (Carroll, 2011), Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs) (Mahfouz et al., 2011; Li et al., 2012), and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)-associated (Cas) systems (Cong et al., 2013) have been successfully used for gene editing in a variety of species.

So what happened?

Rebecca Ann Stevenson, assistant to corresponding author Jian-Kang Zhu at Purdue, tells us:

This paper has not been retracted.  It is published online as of August 20, 2013.

A computer glitch caused the manuscript to appear to be retracted briefly but was corrected.  The paper was never retracted.

We’ve asked the journal to explain the glitch, and will update with anything we learn.

In the meantime, we found an actual retraction with Zhu’s name on it, from PNAS. That paper, “HOS10 encodes an R2R3-type MYB transcription factor essential for cold acclimation in plants,” was published in 2005 and retracted in 2010, a few weeks before we launched Retraction Watch.

It’s unrelated to the Molecular Plant paper, Stevenson tells us:

Different projects, different lab even.  Though Jian-Kang Zhu is a co-author, the bulk of the HOS10 work was done in Professor Ray Bressan’s lab, not Dr. Zhu’s.

2 thoughts on “Plant journal withdraws paper — or does it?”

  1. Do not write Plant journal withdraws paper. Because, one of the well renowned plant science journal name called PLANT JOURNAL. So, please correct your title. It should be “Molecular plant withdraws a paper”. Seeing your title, I thought that an article has been withdrawn from the Plant Journal. Thank you.

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