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Japan lab unable to replicate breakthrough 'stem cell' findings amid fraud claims

Published on Aug 27, 2014 6:29 PM
 
President of research institute Riken, Ryoji Noyori, (centre) answers questions during a visit to hand over their reports over a scandal which cast doubts on the existence of stem cell-like cells at Japan's Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura (not seen) at the ministry in Tokyo on Aug 27, 2014. Researchers in Japan said Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014, they have been unable to replicate experiments that were hailed earlier this year as a "game-changer" in the quest to grow transplant tissue, amid claims evidence was faked. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Researchers in Japan said Wednesday they have been unable to replicate experiments that were hailed earlier this year as a "game-changer" in the quest to grow transplant tissue, amid claims evidence was faked.

In a scandal that rocked Japan's scientific establishment, Riken - the research institute that sponsored the study - launched an independent experiment in April to verify research published by scientist Haruko Obokata and her colleagues earlier this year.

But the failure to replicate the experiment casts further doubt on the existence of stem cell-like cells, what the researchers called Stimulus-Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency (STAP) cells.

"Researchers have conducted 22 experiments thus far, but we could not confirm the emergence of cells in the conditions described in (Dr Obokata's) papers," Riken said in an interim report issued Wednesday.

 
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