News of the WeekPlant Science

Data in Key Papers Cannot Be Reproduced

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Science  26 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5410, pp. 1987-1989
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5410.1987

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New findings, published last week, appear to confirm suspicions that several key papers in a hot area of plant development were fatally compromised by scientific fraud. The results, published in the March issue of Plant Journal, stem from an investigation at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, which concluded last year that a laboratory technician falsified experiments forming the basis of 10 publications going back to 1992. The technician, Inge Czaja, and the leader of the group in which she worked, Richard Walden, resigned in early 1998 in the wake of the scandal, although Walden has never been accused of having any role in the fraud.