A review of past publications by the Japanese research institution RIKEN has produced three corrections of articles by a molecular geneticist, Haruhiko Koseki, The Scientist is reporting. The articles had appeared in Molecular and Cellular Biology between 2005 and 2010.
The review was triggered by the scandal involving Haruko Obokata, a former RIKEN scientist whose work on STAP stem cells has come under scrutiny. However, RIKEN officials said the corrections are unrelated to the Obokata case. Obokata has reportedly agreed to retract two of her articles in Nature. (RIKEN has released an English-language translation of its response to Obokata’s appeal against charges of research misconduct.)
According to The Scientist, Koseki was a member of a committee charged with investigating Obokata’s STAP results:
“The reason his papers were looked at (by somebody) is because he was a member of the investigation committee, but the papers themselves are not related at all to the Obokata issue,” RIKEN spokesperson Jens Wilkinson told The Scientist in an e-mail.
In its statement outlining these changes made by Koseki’s team, RIKEN said that the image issues did not constitute research fraud.
The three papers are
- “Mammalian Polyhomeotic Homologues Phc2 and Phc1 Act in Synergy To Mediate Polycomb Repression of Hox Genes,” published in 2005 and cited 62 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge
- “Overlapping Roles for Homeodomain-Interacting Protein Kinases Hipk1 and Hipk2 in the Mediation of Cell Growth in Response to Morphogenetic and Genotoxic Signals,” from 2006, cited 50 times
- “Mammalian Polycomb-Like Pcl2/Mtf2 Is a Novel Regulatory Component of PRC2 That Can Differentially Modulate Polycomb Activity both at the Hox Gene Cluster and at Cdkn2a Genes,” which appeared in 2010 and has been cited 13 times
The correction notices, in order, are:
Vol. 25, no. 15, p. 6694–6706, 2005. Page 6697, Fig. 2: Panel B presented composite images. These images are delineated by the insertion of white lines in the corrected version below. Also, the bottom portion of panel D presented an image with nonuniform adjustment; it should be replaced with the original image below. These changes do not affect the conclusions of the study.
Vol. 26, no. 7, p. 2758–2771, 2006. Some figures presented composite images. These images are delineated by the insertion of white lines in the corrected versions below. These changes do not affect the conclusions of the study.
Page 2762, Fig. 2: Panels C and D should appear as below.
Page 2766, Fig. 6: Panel E should appear as below.
Page 2768, Fig. 8: Panel E should appear as below.