TOKYO (AFP) ― A Japanese stem-cell scientist accused of fabricating research has agreed to retract papers published in the respected journal Nature, an official said Wednesday.
Haruko Obokata, 30, would withdraw two papers at the center of the controversy, according to a spokeswoman for Riken, the respected research institute that sponsored the study, marking a steep fall from grace for the young researcher.
“We confirmed that she agreed to retract both articles,” the spokeswoman said.
She added that Riken was “still discussing” a retraction with coauthor Charles Vacanti of Harvard University.
Obokata was feted after unveiling findings that appeared to show a straightforward way to reprogram adult cells to become stem cells ― precursors that are capable of developing into any other cell in the human body.
Identifying a readily manufacturable supply of stem cells could one day help meet a need for transplant tissues, or even whole organs, meaning that any advance in the field is usually met with excitement in the scientific community.