Nobel laureate’s research team retracts paper

| March 10, 2008

        The New York Times (3/7, Chang) reported that a "team of scientists, including Linda B. Buck, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has retracted a scientific paper that described neural pathways in the sense of smell, after the scientists were unable to reproduce the results." The Harvard Medical School team "said they had found inconsistencies between the original data and what was published" in 2001 in the journal Nature.

        The "paper reported details of how the nervous system of the mouse carries odor signals from the nose to a particular region of the brain," added the AP (3/7, Ritter). But after being "unable to duplicate their findings" using data gathered by a junior colleague, the research team wrote, in the Thursday issue of the journal, "We have…lost confidence in the reported conclusions." It was, however, "not immediately clear how important the retracted research, done in mice, was to the body of work that led to her Nobel."

        But according to the Boston Globe (3/7, Wen), the "paper was not part of the body of research for which Buck and Richard Axel of Columbia University shared the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology." Nonetheless, a "spokesman for Harvard Medical School said the school has formed an internal committee to review the 2001 paper."

Category: General Healthcare News

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