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German Team Flags Western Blot Reporting Issues

German researchers reviewed hundreds of published scientific articles to get a look at potentially problematic western blot experiment reporting and presentation methods — work they report in PLOS Biology. "Western blotting is a standard laboratory method used to detect proteins and assess their expression levels," they explain. "Unfortunately, poor western blot image display practices and a lack of detailed methods reporting can limit a reader's ability to evaluate or reproduce western blot results." Based on information in 400 cell biology papers and 151 neurosciences papers published in high impact journals, the team suggests that western blot cropping is common, while molecular weight markers, secondary antibody data, and details on primary antibodies used to perform the experiments are often missing or insufficient.