A post at Biocurious examines the recent controversy surrounding work by Duke biochemist Homme Hellinga. Hellinga's 2004 Science paper reported on a computationally designed, biologically active enzyme and was retracted in February after SUNY Buffalo's John Richard could not reproduce the results (a 2007 Journal of Molecular Biology paper was also retracted).
Ross Anderson at Biocurious says there were definite flaws in the experimental design -- contamination had to be a problem. Hellinga blamed his graduate student for falsifying data, but Duke found Mary Dwyer innocent of fraud. An editorial in Nature says that Hellinga and Duke owe the scientific community an explanation. Anderson adds, "Every scientist has a commitment to honestly present their work and based on this we trust, for the most part, what we read in peer-reviewed journals. Break that trust and you will face the consequences."