Research that made international headlines with a purported breakthrough in the creation of highly valuable stem cells has been found to contain falsified and manipulated data, according to a panel of Japanese investigators.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, the government’s RIKEN research institute announced that it had concluded an investigation into allegations of misconduct, and found that the lead author of the study had improperly altered images of DNA fragments used in the research.
The study’s lead author, Haruko Obokata, 30, shocked the scientific world in late January when she and colleagues published a pair of papers in the journal Nature describing the creation of so-called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP, cells.
The now discredited research raised hopes for a relatively simple means of creating stem cells.
Although Obokata did not attend the news conference, she issued a defiant statement saying she would appeal the decision, according to Kyodo News.