Journal issues note of concern, tips off university’s research integrity office

A journal has published an expression of concern (EoC) for a paper on cancer genetics in mice, over a concern about data in some gel panels.

The EoC for “Suppression of intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc mutant mice upon Musashi-1 deletion,” appeared Sept. 21 in Journal of Cell Science (JCS).

With the notice, the journal says:

We have recently been made aware of concerns regarding some of the data in Fig. 2A and B, and Fig. 3A. After discussion with the corresponding author, Kristi Neufeld, this matter has been referred to the authors’ institute. 

JCS is publishing this Note to make readers aware of the issue, and we will provide further information once it has been resolved.

This course of action follows the advice set out by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), of which JCS  is a member.

The paper was originally published Jan. 1. It has not yet been cited, according to Clarivate Analytic’s Web of Science.

JCS Executive Editor Sharon Ahmad told Retraction Watch:

The journal contacted Dr. Neufeld, and because we were unable to resolve the matter, Dr. Neufeld referred the matter to the institute; we contacted the institute as well.

She said that the journal’s specific concerns were:

1) The actin loading control in the +/+ lane of the distal sample in Fig. 2A is identical to the actin loading control in the -/- lane of the proximal sample in Fig. 3A.

2) Both actin loading controls in the proximal sample in Fig. 2B are identical to the actin loading controls in the medial sample in Fig. 3A.

Here are those figures: (post continues below, click to enlarge)

Fig 2. Msi-1−/− mice display decreased Wnt activity in small intestinal epithelia.
Fig 3. Msi-1−/− mice display increased Notch activity in small intestinal epithelia.

Neufeld is a cancer biologist at the University of Kansas (KU). She did not respond to Retraction Watch’s request for comment. KU’s Research Integrity Officer, Susan MacNally, declined to comment on the matter, saying it was “confidential.”

Ahmad added that MacNally was the journal’s point of contact at KU. Ahmad declined to provide any more details, but said details might be forthcoming. Ahmad told us the journal has reached out to the paper’s other co-authors in order to make changes. On Sept. 28, she said:

We will be issuing an update on [the EoC] in the next few days on our Advance articles page.

We haven’t noticed any updates yet, but will let you know when we do.

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