Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_91748

Paper announcing creation of sperm retracted for plagiarism

3 August 2009
Appeared in BioNews 519

A paper published in the journal Stem Cells and Development announcing the creation of human sperm cells from embryonic stem cells has been withdrawn because it contains plagiarised material.

Twenty days after the paper ‘In Vitro Derivation of Human Sperm from Embryonic Stem Cells' was published online, a statement from the journal editor was released explaining that two of the introductory paragraphs had been copied from another source without attribution to the original author.

Graham Parker, Editor of Stem Cells and Development and Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, said that the editors of the journal where the wording originally appeared, Biology of Reproduction, alerted him to the error. They claimed the two paragraphs had been lifted from a review article published in their journal in 2007.

The author of the paper and conductor of the study was Karim Nayernia, Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) and the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle University. A statement from the university said that the paper's original first author, a postdoctoral fellow, was responsible for the plagiarism, and after apologising to the authors ‘the correct version of the manuscript' had been immediately submitted to another peer-reviewed academic journal for proof reading.

'There's no reason at the moment to question the actual data in the paper' Parker told ScienceInsider - blog of the journal Science - but in view of the ‘act of scientific misconduct, retraction was the correct course of action in this instance'.

The original paper had previously been criticised by some for 'over-hyping' the research. Although the title and press release accompanying the article claim that actual human sperm cells had been created, the main body of text talked about 'sperm-like cells' with 'tail-like structures'.

Despite the bold claims 'raising hackles' Harry Moore, Co-director of the Centre for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield believes that 'if there is nothing else behind this [the retraction], it seems a little harsh'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Editor retracts sperm-creation paper
Nature News |  30 July 2009
Seminal stem-cell paper withdrawn
The Times Higher Education Supplement |  30 July 2009
Sperm-cell creation paper retracted due to plagiarism
The Examiner |  30 July 2009
Study on Sperm Made From Stem Cells Retracted for Plagiarism
Bloomberg.com |  30 July 2009
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
9 January 2012 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Researchers have successfully extracted germ cells - the cells that give rise to gametes - from the testes of mice, and used them to grow sperm in the lab...
25 July 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
The journal Science has retracted a controversial paper on the genetics of extreme longevity by scientists at Boston University. The paper, released online last year, was retracted before publication in print following a formal ‘expression of concern’ regarding fundamental technical flaws....
12 July 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
UK scientists have created human sperm cells in the laboratory for the first time. The sperm, called in vitro-derived (IVD) sperm, were grown from embryonic stem (ES) cells. The researchers hope that the IVD sperm will provide a useful model for studying the development of sperm cells and the causes of male infertility....
27 May 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens 
The creation of human admixed or 'hybrid' embryos - which contain both human and animal material - is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill, and is an issue on which UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown bowed to pressure for a free vote by MPs, following...
4 February 2008 - by Dr Charlotte Maden 
British scientists have created early-stage, human sperm from female stem cells, according to a news report in New Scientist magazine. It is claimed that the research will pave the way for same sex couples to have children that are genetically their own. However, other scientists are sceptical...
17 July 2006 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
The success achieved by Professor Karim Nayernia et al in obtaining offspring from 'artificial sperm' has been widely reported over the past week. The research may shed light on the complex developmental processes involved in gamete formation. It has also been suggested that in the future, therapeutic cloning in conjunction...
17 July 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
Scientists have for the first time managed to create sperm from mouse stem cells capable of fertilising eggs and resulting in live births. A team led by Professor Karim Nayernia, now Professor of Stem Cell Biology at Newcastle University, began with mouse embryonic stem cells (ES cells)which...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.