Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Pursuit of a Retraction

KU Leuven's Yves Moreau is pushing to have a 2017 Human Genetics paper that he suspects did not have the proper informed consent retracted, Science reports.

According to Science, the paper used data from the Y chromosome haplotype reference database (YHRD), which includes submissions from around the world. In June, Nature News reported that YHRD could include submissions obtained from Uyghurs in China and Roma in Europe who may have been unable to freely give informed consent and that while the database asks if informed consent was obtained, it does not check.

Moreau tells Science the Human Genetics paper from Chinese and German researchers is especially troubling due to the volume of data it includes as well as since the co-authors include members of Chinese law enforcement. Additionally, while the paper says established ethical principles were followed, co-author Michael Nothnagel from the Cologne Center for Genomics has since said, according to Science, that some data may have been obtained by approaches “that did not meet relevant ethical standards.” ­

Science adds that Springer Nature, the publisher of Human Genetics, is investigating the issue, but Moreau tells it the publisher is moving too slowly and that he has now written to the journal's editorial board. This approach, it notes, has led to resignations at other editorial boards Moreau has contacted about other papers he has identified for review.