Scientists retract studies about making stem cells

July 2, 2014
This undated image made available by the journal Nature shows a mouse embryo formed with specially-treated cells from a newborn mouse that had been transformed into stem cells. Researchers in Boston and Japan say they created stem cells from various tissues of newborn mice. If the same technique works for humans, it may provide a new way to grow tissue for treating illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease. The report was published online on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 in the journal Nature. (AP Photo/RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Haruko Obokata)

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists who reported in January that they'd found a startlingly simple way to make stem cells have withdrawn that claim, following accusations of falsified data.

In two papers published earlier this year in the journal Nature, the researchers reported that they'd been able to transform ordinary mouse cells into versatile stem cells by exposing them to a mildly acidic environment. Scientists hope to harness stem cells to grow replacement tissue for treating a variety of diseases.

But not long after, a government-funded institution in Japan accused one of their scientists — a main author of the research — of falsifying data.

On Wednesday, Nature released a statement from the scientists. They acknowledged "extensive" errors and said they couldn't say "without a doubt" that their method works.