How To Read A Retraction, Gazfuckbajillion!!11!

Aug 04 2010 Published by under Ethics, Science Ethics, Scientific Misconduct

Nice one in PNAS today:

Retraction for “HOS10 encodes an R2R3-type MYB transcription factor essential for cold acclimation in plants” by Jianhua Zhu, Paul E. Verslues, Xianwu Zheng, Byeong-ha Lee, Xiangqiang Zhan, Yuzuki Manabe, Irina Sokolchik, Yanmei Zhu, Chun-Hai Dong, Jian-Kang Zhu, Paul M. Hasegawa, and Ray A. Bressan, which appeared in issue 28, July 12, 2005, of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (102:9966–9971; first published online July 1, 2005; 10.1073/pnas.0503960102).

The authors wish to note the following: “The locus AT1g35515 that was claimed to be responsible for the cold sensitive phenotype of the HOS10 mutant was misidentified. The likely cause of the error was an inaccurate tail PCR product coupled with the ability of HOS10 mutants to spontaneously revert to wild type, appearing as complemented phenotypes. The SALK alleles of AT1g35515 in ecotype Columbia could not be confirmed by the more reliable necrosis assay. Therefore, the locus responsible for the HOS10 phenotypes reported in ecotype C24 remains unknown. The other data reported were confirmed with the exception of altered expression of AT1g35515, which appears reduced but not to the extent shown in Zhu et al. The authors regrettably retract the article.” [Emphasis added]

Sounds like these fuckers were--at best--too happy to see the complementation support their hypothesis, and thus didn't do appropriate fucken controls, which would have revealed that the rate of complementation was exactly the same as the rate of spontaneous reversion. Or worse, there was some cherry picking of data going on. Also, it is pretty suspicious that--in addition to the bogus complementation data--there was also, coincidentally, altered expression of the same locus that was not confirmable after publication. Again, sounds like some cherry picking may have been going on.

Worst case scenario, all this shit was totally cherry picked data within the normal range of variability and ginned up into a totally fake fucken story.

6 responses so far

Leave a Reply