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Wider Examination

Questions have been raised about the work of three more members of the Riken committee that investigated the work of stem cell scientist Haruko Obokata, and Riken President Ryoji Noyori has asked group leaders at the institute to examine their prior publications for evidence of image manipulation or plagiarism, ScienceInsider reports.

Earlier this year, Obokata and her colleagues published a pair of articles in Nature that purported to show that cells could be reprogrammed to be embryonic-like stem cells by exposing them to a strong stimulus like low pH. Questions quickly arose regarding both the feasibility of the stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP, approach as well as about images included in the papers. A committee at Riken, where Obokata works, found her guilty of research misconduct; Obokata is appealing the finding.

The chair of that committee, Shunsuke Ishii, also came under fire more recently for allegedly including manipulated images in previous papers. Ishii resigned as chair of the investigating committee.

This new directive to investigate all previously published articles for signs of image manipulation and tampering covers some 20,000 journal articles, ScienceInsider adds.