Japanese scientists mull withdrawing statement on STAP discovery

OSAKA, March 14 (PNA/Xinhua) — A group of Japanese scientists who earlier announced their discovery of a new method for creating pluripotent cells, which they call ‘STAP cells,’ are considering withdrawing the statement, local media outlets reported Friday.

There are several reasons for the plan including allegations the report contains “manipulated” data, the sources noted.

According to the group’s leader Haruko Obokata at Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Western Japan’s Kobe, and who reportedly spent some time researching at Harvard University, they discovered the method in mice by simply exposing body cells to acidic liquids.

They named the resulting cells ‘stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency’ or STAP cells.

After the announcement in front of cameras in Kobe, however, researchers worldwide criticized the leader because they could not observe the production of cells through such a “simple” method.

The Riken group claimed it soaked lymph corpuscles taken from seven-day-old mice in acidic liquids, cultured these to transplant into mice where such developed into nerve and muscle tissues, the reports said.

Other critics said photographs and even sentences in the Riken report are identical to those used in earlier theses, including one by a German team released years ago.

Riken established a third-party panel to investigate the report’s content and is planning to withdraw the claim about the scientific achievement.

An American professor working with Obokata disagreed, however, further delaying official announcement on the withdrawal.

Riken will release an interim report in the afternoon at its head office in Tokyo. (PNA/Xinhua)