A committee investigating problems in papers claiming a method to apply stress to create embryonic like cells has found the lead researcher guilty of scientific misconduct.
The judgement is the latest twist — but not the final word — in the bizarre story of stimulus-triggered activation of pluripotency (STAP), a method that researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, still say is able to turn ordinary mature mouse cells into cells that share embryonic stem cells’ capacity to turn into all of the body’s cells.
The technology was presented in two Nature papers on 30 January by the CDB’s Haruko Obokata together with colleagues in Japan and the United States, but a slew of problems has been identified since then.
A six-person committee — three RIKEN scientists, two university researchers and a lawyer — looked at six problems. Four were dismissed as innocent errors, but in two cases the committee found that Obokata had manipulated data in an intentionally misleading fashion. They branded it scientific misconduct.
Read the full, original story: Stem-cell scientist found guilty of misconduct