What do you make of the human cloning paper mistakes? Take our poll

Shoukhrat Mitalipov
Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov.

When a high-profile paper ends up having mistakes, it can be a big deal and cause a lot of problems for the authors and the field.

Recently, a sexy Cell paper on ES cell cloning from the lab of Shoukhrat Mitalipov was published and soon a number of mistakes were identified. How does that impact your view of the paper overall?

Take our poll.

4 thoughts on “What do you make of the human cloning paper mistakes? Take our poll”

  1. Paul- I’m at a bioethics panel meeting in Germany, which has nothing to do with my comments, except that it is very bad behavior to be writing this while I should be thinking about clinical trials in developing countries.

    However…I have a morbid fascination with duplicated images in papers, so I couldn’t resist sneaking a look. The first duplication that Peer 1 pointed out is not misleading- 2F is a generic picture of an NT hESC line, and the same photo used in 6D names the cell line…sloppy, but not serious. The second duplication is 6D and s5- a bit worse, since the same image was used to represent two different cell lines. But neither of these mistakes affects the interpretation of the results. Duplicate phase-contrast pictures are not nearly as worrisome as, for example, the frequent duplication of Western blot images.

    The microarray results do bother me-not so much because they show duplicated images, but because I see no purpose in reporting comparison of replicates- it’s not interesting to me that the replicates- and some do look like technical replicates- look like…well, replicates.

    My take-home message is that the duplications are in parts of the manuscript that don’t matter…the interesting part of the manuscript for me is the evidence that the somatic nuclei are indeed functioning in the derived hESCs…that’s remarkable, and impressive.


    1. Thanks, Jeanne! Very interesting. Two quick questions to follow up.

      First, it’s helpful how you’ve addressed each of the issues individually, what about the fact collectively of them together? Does that make you more concerned?

      Second, care to comment on the 3-day period between receipt of the paper and acceptance? Especially in light of at least 3 errors being evident in the paper?

      1. Hi Paul: Indeed, there seems to be a serious downside to having your paper reviewed in 3 days…although I would love just once to have to worry about how quickly one of my manuscripts was accepted!
        If the errors were in the submitted paper, the reviewers should have caught at least the most glaring ones. It makes me wonder if they were introduced during the quick “revision”?

        1. I would love to have that problem too in terms of papers being accepted too fast! 🙂
          I’m curious to see how the poll in this post turns out, but my feeling is that the main conclusions of the paper are almost certainly correct. Yet these errors make me feel at least a bit uneasy about the paper in a general sense, esp. given the historical context.

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