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Cloned photos, graphs and data: Errors in groundbreaking paper : Nature News & Comment

If they can kill you, why not lie a little, too?

And so much for “peer review:” Rush to publish: The Cloning article I wrote about last week was “accepted” 3 days after submission, 12 days to publishing in the journal.

That big story from Cell really, really wanted cloning humans to be true.


The first problem was an image duplication. Figure 2F, which shows a cloned stem-cell colony “with typical morphology”, is reproduced in the top left of Figure 6D where it is labelled as “hESO-7” — an embryonic stem-cell line derived not from cloning but from in vitro fertilization (IVF). Mitalipov says that the duplication was intentional but that the labelling was reversed. The top left panel in 6D should have been labelled hESO-NT1, indicating a cloned colony, as in Figure 2F. The top right figure should have been hESO-7.

He says that label reversal also explains another set of duplicated images — the top right figure in 6D and the top right figure in Supplementary Figure S5. With the labels reversed, the identical images are both representing the hESO-7 cell line. “Then everything falls into place,” Mitalipov says.

Double trouble

Even so, the decision to use the same image to illustrate two different properties, once to show typical morphology (2F) and once as a basis for comparison of cell markers between embryonic stem cells from normal IVF embryos and cloned embryos (6D), is “not ideal,” says Martin Pera, a stem-cell expert at the University of Melbourne, Australia. “It’s considered bad form, unless you have a reason to do it.”

via Stem-cell cloner acknowledges errors in groundbreaking paper : Nature News & Comment.

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