The journal Human Genetics has retracted a paper that used data from about 38,000 men in China due to concerns that informed consent might not have been obtained properly, the Intercept reports.
It adds that Yves Moreau, a researcher at the University of Leuven in Belgium, has been calling on that and other journals to retract papers using genetic data collected from individuals who might not have been able to voluntarily participate. Moreau told Science in August that this 2017 paper was especially problematic as some of the paper's co-authors were members of the Chinese public security and police forces. The Intercept adds that the paper relies on data from the Y chromosome haplotype reference database (YHRD), which has been criticized for containing profiles from Uyghur and Roma individuals who ethicists say were likely not properly collected.
In the retraction notice, the editors of Human Genetics write that the paper authors — some of whom agreed with the retraction and some of whom did not — have not been able to verify that consent was properly obtained for all individuals in the study.
"This is not only a matter of informed consent, but also a matter of retracting and not publishing research clearly linked to serious harm," Moreau tells the Intercept.