Scientific fraud suspected in Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh reportedly has started an inquiry into possible scientific misconduct by stem cell researchers.

University officials announced Monday a "preliminary" inquiry involving the duplication of some stem-cell images in a research paper reporting the creation of stem cells from cloned human embryos, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The study was published by the journal Science.

Jerome Rosenbert, the university's research integrity officer, said the inquiry would determine whether there's enough basis to launch an investigation.

The paper -- based on experiments conducted in South Korea -- included as a co-author Gerald Schatten, a University of Pittsburgh biologist who last month severed his collaboration with the Korean laboratory, the Journal said.

The disputed report contained pictures identified as being different stem cells, but which were actually identical.

University officials said editors at Science were following the investigation, but so far consider the errors innocent mistakes.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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