Nature Methods has retracted a 2017 paper suggesting a common gene editing technique may cause widespread collateral damage to the genome.
The notice has a long backstory: After the paper was published, it immediately drew an outcry from critics (including representatives from companies who sell the tool, whose stock fell after publication). Some critics argued that the authors, led by Vinit B. Mahajan at Stanford University, hadn’t employed sufficient controls, so they couldn’t be sure that the observed mutations stemmed from the tool, rather than normal background variation between mice. Only months after the paper appeared, the journal issued an expression of concern about the article. In a new preprint posted on BioRxiv on Monday, the authors concede that their critics may be right.
In the new preprint, Mahanjan and his colleagues acknowledge that the gene editing technique — known as CRISPR-Cas9 — “may not introduce numerous, unintended, off-target mutations.”
However, according to the retraction notice, Mahajan and several of his co-authors object to the retraction: Continue reading Nature journal retracts controversial CRISPR paper after authors admit results may be wrong
Against the authors’ objections, Nature Methods has added an expression of concern to a 2017 paper that drew fire for suggesting a common gene editing technique could cause widespread collateral damage to the genome. The latest note — the second to be added in two months — alerts readers to an alternative interpretation of the findings.
When “Unexpected mutations after CRISPR–Cas9 editing in vivo” was published May 30, it immediately drew criticism from many of the top scientists working with CRISPR, including those associated with companies seeking to develop CRISPR-based therapies for humans. Share prices for the two largest companies pursuing CRISPR therapies, Editas Medicine and Intellia Therapeutics, dropped following publication of the article.
On June 14, the journal published a notice to alert readers to “technical criticisms” of the paper. Apparently, that wasn’t sufficient, because the journal is now providing more details on the nature of the criticisms, despite the objections of the paper’s authors:
Continue reading Controversial CRISPR paper earns second editorial note
A Nature journal has posted a editor’s note to a recent letter on potential unintended consequences of CRISPR gene editing, after an executive at a company trying to commercialize the technology said the paper should be retracted.
The original article, published on May 30 as a correspondence in Nature Methods, suggested that using CRISPR in mice can lead to unexpected mutations. But last week, the journal added an “Editorial note” online. Nature Methods says the notice is not an expression of concern, which would be a stronger suggestion that the paper is problematic; it simply wants to alert readers to the fact that, as the note states:
Continue reading Journal alerts readers to “technical criticism” of CRISPR study