Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Your Short-Order Stem Cells May Not Have Arrived After All!

A few weeks ago I blogged about a Japanese researcher's piece in Nature, in which she claimed to have induced pluripotency in mouse blood cells simply by immersing the cells in an acid bath for a half-hour.  It now emerges that the researcher, Haruko Obokata, may not have done this after all. The RIKEN center in Kobe announced on Friday that it is investigating "alleged irregularities" in her work. Questions have been raised about the use of duplicate images across several of her papers, and about numerous unsuccessful attempts to duplicate her results. Obokata is not answering press inquiries. The jury is very much still out: the failures to duplicate her results may simply be due to the complexity of her protocol and the character of the particular cells she used. The business about duplicate images may simply have been a mistake. Read the latest from Nature on the matter, and stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot for posting this. I'm sure you're aware that the papers have been retracted and the scientific misconduct is now "official". I was blogging about this myself ( and mentioned in the last paragraph that perhaps the bioethics field could address/propagate this issue a bit more and remind scientists of their responsibility towards accurate science. But then I thought about a course that I attended (here in Europe) and scientific misconduct wasn't actually covered at all. Since I found your blog (I'll spend more time here for sure) I thought I should ask: does the scope of bioethics include the education of scientist about ethical lab practice - or is it really only about risks brought about by scientific progress as wikipedia suggests? Are there courses at Yale, for example, that inform researchers about the damage done by scientific misconduct, offer examples etc?