Scientists Withdraw Claim About Making Stem Cells

Scientists who reported that they'd found a startlingly simple way to make stem cells withdrew that claim Wednesday, admitting to "extensive" errors in the research. In two papers published in January in the journal Nature, the researchers said that they'd been able to transform ordinary mouse cells into versatile stem cells by exposing them to a mildly acidic environment. Scientists hope to harness stem cells to grow replacement tissue for treating a variety of diseases.

While scientists have long been able to perform such transformations with a different method, the newly reported technique was far simpler, and the paper gained wide notice — and some skepticism — in the research community. But before long, the government-funded Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan accused one of its scientists, Haruko Obokata, of falsifying data in the research. On Wednesday, Nature released a statement from Obokata and the other authors that withdrew the papers. The scientists acknowledged "extensive" errors that meant "we are unable to say without a doubt" that the method works.


-The Associated Press