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Error in CCR5-Δ32 Mortality Paper

The University of California, Berkeley's Rasmus Nielsen writes in a tweet that an error was found in a paper he and a colleague published earlier this year in Nature Medicine that suggested that CCR5-Δ32 gene mutations are associated with higher mortality rates. This finding was of particular concern as that was the alteration researcher He Jiankui sought to induce using CRISPR in the embryos of twin girls.

But according to a series of tweets from Nielsen, Harvard's David Reich was inspired by the work of Sean Harrison at the University of Bristol to dig into the data Nielsen and his colleague Xinzhu Wei used in their analysis, and he uncovered an error. As Stat News reports, Nielsen and Wei relied on data from the UK Biobank, but the SNP marker they used was being called incorrectly, which then led them to come to an erroneous conclusion. They add at Stat News that this is not a reflection of poor data quality of the UK bIobank, as they uncovered the same issue in other genomic databases.

"The one thing that all scientists fear the most is to find out that a major result they have published was based on erroneous data," Nielsen wrote in a tweet. "This is an event that will affect you for the rest of your scientific career."

He added that he and Wei are working with Nature Medicine to get the publication record corrected.