A group of tiny, all-female animals called bdelloid rotifers has long fascinated scientists. Among other questions, of course, is: Why haven’t they gone extinct, if they can’t mix up their genes? In 2016, a group of authors published a paper in Current Biology claiming to show that rotifers could swap DNA the way bacteria do. But a paper published earlier this month in the same journal found “clear evidence that the data and findings of [that study] are unreliable.” It’s unusual for a journal to publish a full paper clearly refuting another — and Current Biology left the original paper as is, without even a link to the new one. The authors of the new paper — Chris Wilson, Reuben Nowell, and Tim Barraclough, all of Imperial College London — explain how all of this came to pass, and why the authors of the original paper deserve praise.
Prominent plant researcher Mark Estelle has retracted a paper on plant hormones after follow-up studies showed the conclusions were incorrect.
The hormone in question, auxin, is a major player in plant growth and development. The retracted Current Biology paper reported that a certain auxin receptor, designated AFB4, downregulates the responses of cabbage-cousin Arabidopsis thaliana to the signaling molecule. But after publication, the researchers experimented with a mutant seedling that didn’t produce the receptor, and discovered it didn’t overreact to auxin signals, indicating the receptor wasn’t playing a major role in limiting the effects.
Estelle, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator based at the University of California, San Diego, told us he and his team are working on a paper that will contain the accurate data from the paper, along with new findings.
The authors of a Current Biology paper published online in February of this year have retracted it after voluminous criticism on post-publication review site PubPeer and a university committee found evidence of figure manipulation.
The paper, “Agonist-Induced GPCR Shedding from the Ciliary Surface Is Dependent on ESCRT-III and VPS4,” was co-authored by Hua Jin and Livana Soetedjo, a graduate student in Jin’s lab. Soetedjo was first author, and Jin was corresponding author.
The work of Sam W. Lee, a cancer biologist at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, has come under fire at Science Fraud lately over concerns about the possible reuse of images in his group’s published studies.