The author of a 2016 paper describing a potentially invaluable lab tool has retracted it, following heavy criticism from outside groups that could not reproduce the findings.
The paper had already been tagged with an Expression of Concern by the journal, Nature Biotechnology, which included data from multiple groups casting doubt on the original findings. Although the authors, led by Chunyu Han at Hebei University of Science and Technology in China, produced data to support their original findings, the journal has concluded — following “feedback from expert reviewers” — that the additional data “are insufficient to counter the substantial body of evidence that contradicts their initial findings,” according to an editorial released today:
Nature Biotechnology has issued an editorial expression of concern (EOC) for a widely criticized study describing a potentially invaluable new lab tool.
The EOC mentions the lack of reproducibility of the gene-editing technique, known as NgAgo. Alongside it, the journal has published a correspondence which includes data from three separate research groups that cast doubt on the original findings.
According to a spokesperson for the journal, some of the paper’s authors have objected to the decision to issue an EOC.
Earlier this month, we reported on a letter signed by 20 researchers which also raised concerns about the genome-editing activities of NgAgo — and alleged the lab that produced the initial results turned away investigators when they attempted to validate the tool in mammalian cells.