February 16, 2016

Paper retracted after researcher accused of duplicating image


By Holly Webb, ASAP/ASAS Intern

February 15, 2016 – A retraction notice has appeared in Food and Nutrition Sciences, regarding a paper that demonstrated how genes could be found in the blood and organs of young goats whose mothers ate genetically modified (GM) soybeans. The paper was referenced in an Italian Senate hearing last July, regarding the cultivation of GM crops in the country. It has since been retracted due to the investigation of complaints received against it.

Federico Infascelli, an animal nutrition researcher at the University of Naples, is accused of manipulating images that suggested GMOs are harmful. The retracted paper, entitled “Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Kids Born from Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean,” contained data that had previously been published in 2010. The retraction notice stated, “The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and we treat all unethical behavior such as plagiarism seriously.”

A professor from the University of Milan published an open letter in June 2015 expressing concern about the quality of Infascelli’s research. Further examination of other papers authored by Infascelli, which also examined the transfer of GM material to the offspring of goats fed GM soybeans, revealed manipulation of images of electrophoresis gels.

The credibility of the journal, Food and Nutrition Sciences, and its publisher, Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), (which published Infascelli’s research), has been questioned.

Read more in an article in Food Navigator.

The retraction notice can be found here.

About the photo: A Nubian doe with twins (From the Animal Science Image Gallery, courtesy of Susan Schoenian.)