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New Stem Cell Paper May Contain Errors

The recent Cell paper showing that human skin cells can be reprogrammed into embryonic stem cells is under review for possibly containing improperly manipulated images, Retraction Watch reports.

A contributor to PubPeer, a post-publication peer discussion site, notes what could be a number of instances of image re-use. For example, the contributor points out some images that allegedly are cropped versions of other ones. The contributor also notes the short time frame between the submission of the paper and when it was accepted and when it was published.

Cell tells Retraction Watch that "[o]ur editorial team is currently assessing the allegations brought up in the PubPeer piece."

Lead author Shoukhrat Mitalipov from Oregon Health and Science University tells Nature that the paper contains honest errors and that he and his colleagues plan to discuss an erratum with Cell. He says that there may have been a rush to publish — he tells Nature that he wanted to present his results at a stem cell meeting next month.

"I personally made the cell[s] and, with Masahito [Tachibaba, the first author], I saw them grow into colonies," Mitalipov adds.

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