Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Stem cell smackdown

The conventional wisdom is that Woo Suk Hwang bears all the blame for fabricating his human stem cell data. Science, the prestigious journal that published the paper, blameless, as it merely published what appeared to be legitimate results.

Not so, say Evan Snyder and Jeanne Loring, a pair of stem cell scientists, writing in the New England Journal:
Nevertheless, flagrant duplication of photomicrographs in the absence of key control conditions (e.g., analysis of mitochondrial DNA) should have been caught before publication.
Trust me, in the world of science, this is about as nasty as it gets. Of course, it's easy to say the deception should have been caught once it's been revealed; I don't remember these authors questioning the data before it became clear there were problems.

BTW, mitochondrial DNA is the small amount of DNA that is inheritied solely from the mother. Since somatic cell nuclear transer replaceds the nuclear but not mitochondrial DNA of a ova, a good control for cloning experiments is to show that the nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA come from different individuals (the nuclear and ova donor, respectfully).


At 6:56 AM, Blogger ollie said...

this makes me grateful to be in math (however mediocre I am).

One submits a result for publication and another (or several other, if the result is big time) mathematicians check it. They check to see if you've proved what you said that you have proved.

And, if the proof works and is important enough for that journal, they publish it. Otherwise, they say "you made a mistake here and we don't see how to fix it" or "your result is correct, but either too specialized or not good enough for us" (and sometimes make suggestions of another place to send it) or "your result is correct but already known; don't bother") and send it back to you.

And sometimes, well, you just don't want to know the refereeing process. :-)

At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refer to Diabetes


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