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Another Day, Another Retraction

Nobel Prize-winning researcher Linda Buck has retracted two papers, one from PNAS and one from Science, after she found herself unable to reproduce her results, reports the New York Times' Kenneth Chang. Both the PNAS paper, published in 2005, and the Science paper, published in 2006 — as well as a 2001 Nature paper that Buck retracted two years ago — had to do with the olfactory systems in mice. None of the papers had anything to do with why Buck won the Nobel Prize. The results of the retracted papers did little to advance science's understanding of the sense of smell, Chang adds. The first author on all the papers, Zhihua Zou, worked in Buck's group at Harvard and then at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. After the Nature retraction, Buck and her colleagues went back to other papers based on Zou's experiments and found conclusions that were inconsistent with the original data, Chang says. Zou agreed, reluctantly, to the earlier retraction, but says he won't sign these most recent ones, Chang adds. Harvard started a review after the Nature retraction to investigate the possibilities of misconduct, and that review is still ongoing.

The Scan

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