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Former Minister's Paper Retracted

Science has retracted a 2007 paper of which a former Dutch minister was an author, Retraction Watch reports.

The paper, which examined short interfering RNAs in RNA interference response in Caenorhabditis elegans, came to the attention of Elisabeth Bik, a microbiologist who now scours papers for signs of image manipulation, in 2015, according to Retraction Watch. It adds that she described at PubPeer similarities between figures in the Science paper and figures in other papers from the authors. While Bik notified Science of her suspicions years ago, a more recent tweet about the problem caught the attention of a Dutch scientist who wrote about the issue, leading the Hubrecht Institute where the researchers worked when the paper was published to open an investigation, Retraction Watch adds.

One author, it notes, was Ronald Plasterk, the founder of Frame Cancer Therapeutics and a former Dutch government minister. According to the retraction notice in Science, Plasterk and his colleagues have all moved on from the Hubrecht Institute and were unable to find their original data. They write that while other figures in the paper support their conclusions, the loss of the suspect images weakens their findings and they decided to retract the paper.

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