In transformed the mouse blood cells into something similar

In January 2014 Obokata, head of her laboratory at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, published two breakthrough articles in Nature. She and her
colleagues transformed the mouse blood cells into something similar to
embryonic stem cells. She put the blood cells in citric acid and waited for
half an hour. After that, the cells were able to multiply abundantly and grow
into any type of cell in the body. So the blood cells become pluripotent.

                Within days of
her two articles being published, disturbing allegations appeared in science
blogs and on Twitter. She put images in her article which looked doctored and parts
of her articles were copied from other paper. (Rasko and Power, 2015) A figure,
that showed electrophoresis gels, was problematic. In a diagram one lane was
switched to another. She made the switch because the other lane was clearer. According
to a committee, the switch was intentionally misleading manipulation. Obokata
used a figure in one of her articles from her doctoral thesis that showed teratoma
cells which had a broad-ranging developmental capacity made by putting pressure
on the membrane of the cells by pipette. However, in her article she said that
the cells had been stressed by acid. Obokata said that it was an unintentional
mistake. However, the committee noticed that the captions were different so the
mistake was intentional. (Cyranoski, 2014)

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                Riken began
investigating and on the 1st of April, Obokata was found to be guilty due to scientific
misconduct. Obokata apologised for all her mistakes but she still claimed that
STAP (“stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency”) cells exist. Although
her experimental procedure was simple, no one could repeat it. So those who
tried to do it, asked Nature to retract Obokata’s articles. In June, Obokata
also asked Nature to retract her articles. Subsequently, genetic analysis
demonstrated that the STAP cells are not from those mice which were mentioned
in the article. People found out that her STAP cells were just embryonic stem
cells which were taken from the freezer and relabelled. (Cyranoski, 2014)

                Yoshiki Sasai,
who was Obokata’s supervisor, was one of those who has been criticised. Sasai
was overwhelmed with shame. In early August, after a month in hospital for
depression, Sasai committed suicide. She left behind three farewell notes. One
of them was addressed to Obokata and it asked Obokata to reproduce STAP cells.
Riken gave an opportunity to Obokata and her team to make Sasai’s request
possible. Obokata and her team tried to reproduce STAP cells for eight months
and in December, they admitted that they cannot create STAP cells again.
Obokata was baffled by the fact that they could not reproduce STAP cells and
Obokata resigned. In the end of the year, Riken wrote a final report about the
happenings. The report said that Obokata had falsified and fabricated data so
her STAP cells were actually embryonic stem cells and the swap was not
accidental, although there is not any proof that says the opposite. (Rasko and
Power, 2015)


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