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International Journal of Botany
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 5  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 144 - 152

Retracted: A Multifunctional Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase Gene Confers Freezing Tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana

Azura Amid and Gareth J. Warren    


Reasons: Dr. Glenn Thorlby, Plant Molecular Biologist pointed out that Azura Amid presented very initial results in this paper and all data presented without getting permissions from the Institute where the research was conducted.

Dr. Glenn Thorlby also pointed out that publication of this work causes serious damage to the careers of other group members who were involved in this (and subsequent) work who are not acknowledged in this publication. This is particularly the case since, I presume in order to ensure publication; the author has included results she knew to be a result of sample mix up!

This aspect of the work was repeated by some of the author’s former colleagues to ensure legitimate results were obtained. This had considerable costs both financial and in terms of time commitment. These investments to correct the author’s mistakes are pointless if the author is allowed to knowingly publish the incorrect data. It also prevents the publication of additional information which was obtained after the author departed the lab which builds on the interpretation of the corrected data.

The journal information states that the “approval of the necessary institution” is necessary to publish work carried out in other labs. This was not sought, and would not have been given, since considerable additional efforts had been made to clarify and expand the results obtained by the author involving several additional authors.

To clear up whether permission was sought I have contacted Prof. P. Bramley, Head of Department, at Royal Holloway where this work was carried out. He has informed me: I have no knowledge of this paper from Azura and have had no contact with her for many months. She has never told me of her plans to publish this work and so the College most definitely did not agree to its submission. It sounds to me that you have a justifiable reason to make a complaint to the journal. Dr. Glenn also pointed out that Most worrying is the inclusion of data which the corresponding author knows to be incorrect. Before the corresponding author finished her Ph.D., on which she has based the manuscript, it was established that the micro-array samples she describes were unfortunately mixed up. The author and another Ph.D. student, in a collaborative project, prepared and sent away samples from a number of different mutants. Later PCR analysis showed that theses samples were not correctly labelled and contained mixed material contaminated with RNA from several different mutants in each tube. The data from them was not reliable. This was later confirmed when the experiments were repeated properly by a post-doc in the lab. The results in the paper incorrectly finding changes in gene expression in warm grown plants that were in fact found in cold treated plants. Although the appropriate section is so badly written it is difficult to tell for sure what the author is concluding.

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