Research News

Quick Work Draws Scientific Praise, Colleagues' Complaints

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Science  27 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5283, pp. 1798
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5283.1798


When Stephen O'Brien quickly put together a powerful analysis of the link between genetic mutations and susceptibility to HIV infection, he set off a flap among some colleagues and competitors. O'Brien analyzed DNA from cell lines he had established from large numbers of blood samples provided by other investigators, some of whom say they were not aware of the study until a draft manuscript was circulated. Others complained that his readyaccess to the cell lines gave him an unfair advantage. O'Brien, who included as co-authors those who provided samples, says the work was covered by collaborative agreements. Theflap highlights an issue that is becoming increasingly important in biomedical research: Who should control research on scarce samples?