Mystery conflict between authors fells molecular bio paper

mirna-journal-coverA journal has pulled a paper about tools to knock out a key transcription factor because of a conflict between the authors.

The retracted article is “Generation of Knock down Tools for Transcription Factor 7-like-2 (TCF7L2) and Evaluation of its Expression Pattern in Developing Chicken Optic Tectum,” published just last year in MicroRNA.

We’ll get right to the reason — the retraction note provides one short one:

Due to conflict of interests between authors and the Principal Investigator.

The paper has not been cited, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

Although the note says the conflict is between the PI and the “authors,” there are only two authors on the paper — first author N Ahmad, and last author S Bano. The only affiliation, the Indian Institute of Technology, and email address listed appear to be for Bano. When we tried the email, our message bounced back.

According to the abstract, the study looks at the expression of  TCF7L2 in chicken embryos, which

encodes for a transcription factor that plays a significant role in the Wnt signaling pathway and has been implicated in schizophrenia and blood glucose homeostasis.

The journal appears to have removed the rest of the paper entirely — a move we don’t see too often, and one that goes against the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

We have also contacted the editor in chief of MicroRNA, and will update this post with anything we learn.

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