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Stem Cell Study Data Fabricated, Investigators Say

WebMD News from HealthDay

April 2, 2014 -- Data was fabricated by the lead author of a stem cell study that received worldwide attention when it was published in the journal Nature earlier this year, according to the Japanese institute where the research took place.

The supposed breakthrough was a new way to grow tissue that could be used to treat conditions such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease. But after the research was published in January, no other scientists could successfully reproduce the results. In March, one of the study's co-authors said the paper should be retracted, the Washington Post reported.

After a month-long investigation, the Riken research institute said Tuesday that lead researcher Haruko Obokata intentionally fabricated the data to produce her findings. Institute director Ryoji Noyori promised to "rigorously punish" those responsible for the deception.

The investigators concluded that images of DNA fragments used in the study were either doctored or entirely fabricated, the Post reported.

Obokata denied the allegations and said she will file a complaint against Riken.

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