Harvard University researchers retracted a paper published in the journal Nature after discovering problems with some of its data, but the study’s lead author refused to sign on to the retraction.
Amy Wagers, a biologist at Harvard’s Stem Cell Institute and the Joslin Diabetes Center, and two of her co-authors signed a statement today pulling the January article "after a re-examination of the publication raised serious concerns with some of the reported data."
"These concerns have undermined the authors’ confidence in the support for the scientific conclusions reported," according to the retraction. "Although this matter is under further review, these authors wish to retract the paper in its entirety, and regret any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper’s publication. The retraction has not been signed by [lead author] Shane R. Mayack, who maintains that the results are still valid."
The paper dealt with the aging of stem cells. The problematic data concerned "the role of osteopontin-positive niche cells in the rejuvenation of haematopoietic stem cells in aged mice," according to the retraction.
Joslin spokesman Eric Bender said he could not comment on whether Mayack was still working in the laboratory, according to The Boston Globe. Wagers said in prepared remarks that she immediately notified the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and Nature after learning about the problems with the data, according to the newspaper.
"My primary concern has always been to ensure the integrity of the scientific process and my research, and I have taken all appropriate steps to make certain that any errors in the record are fully corrected," Wagers said. "I regret any confusion that has resulted from the publication of this paper and am deeply grateful to my colleagues who are painstakingly working with me to replicate these experiments and evaluate the data."