In a pair of refreshingly transparent and detailed notices, the authors explain that the transgenic plants used in the papers included genotyping errors, which invalidated their findings. According to the notices, first author Man-Ho Oh generated the problematic transgenic plants, while corresponding author Steven C. Huber, based at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), took responsibility for omitting some critical oversight.
Huber told us that there were only two papers that used the transgenic plants in question, so no other retractions will be forthcoming.
A nearly ten-year-long series of investigations into a pair of plant physiologists who received millions in funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation has resulted in debarments of less than two years for each of the researchers.
Three biologists at Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan have retracted a 2014 Frontiers in Plant Sciencepaper on abnormal root growth in Arabidopsis“in light of new experimental evidence” showing they fingered the wrong mutant gene. The journal editors are hailing the retraction as an “excellent example of self-correction of the scientific record.”
A subsequent string of experiments by the same research team—including DNA microarrays, RT-PCR, and a PCR-based genomic deletion analysis—demonstrated that two other mutations that somehow creeped into their experimental populations may have been to blame for the abnormal root behavior.
The Journal, Chief Editor and the Authors wish to retract the Original Research article cited above in its entirety. Based on information reported after publication, this article was found to have images that were inappropriately manipulated (Figure 1B: actin panel; Figure 6A: PR1, PR5; Figure 6B: AtATH6, AtATH10). The authors and the journal regret the errors and regret any inconvenience to the readers of Frontiers in Plant Science.