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Japan institute says 'landmark' stem cell study should be quashed after claims of faulty data

Published on Mar 14, 2014 7:37 PM
 
Riken president Ryoji Noyori (second right) speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on March 14, 2014. A Japanese research institute said on Friday that a study which promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells should be quashed after claims its data was faulty, dealing a huge blow to what was touted as a game-changing discovery. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese research institute said on Friday that a study which promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells should be quashed after claims its data was faulty, dealing a huge blow to what was touted as a game-changing discovery.

Riken institute head Ryoji Noyori, who jointly won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2001, also heaped criticism on lead researcher Haruko Obokata for her "sloppiness" and warned the controversy could shake the public's faith in research.

The findings, published by 30-year-old Dr Obokata, along with other Japanese researchers and a United States-based scientist in the January edition of British journal Nature, outlined a relatively simple way to grow transplant tissue in the lab. But it faced hard questions as the respected institute, which sponsored the study, launched an inquiry last month over the credibility of its data used in the explosive findings.

Among key concerns was that researchers used erroneous images - crucial to supporting the study - which resembled those used in Dr Obokata's doctoral dissertation in 2011.

 
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