Scientist admits mistakes in stem cell 'discovery'

The Japanese scientists who made an apparently groundbreaking discovery in the field of stem cell research earlier this year has called for his research to be withdrawn amid speculations about the validity of the findings.

In January the researcher claimed to have discovered that stem cells could be made quickly and cheaply by simply dipping cells in acid to convert them into the biological building blocks. But the images used in the report were brought into question and other teams of researchers have failed to emulate the results.

The study's author Professor Teruhiko Wakayama said, "It is no longer clear what is right."

Stem cells are set to play a vital role in the future of regenerative medicine as they can transform into any other type of tissue. Teams of scientists are exploring their application in restoring sight to the blind and mending damage caused by heart attacks.

The original study was published in the journal Nature and hit headlines after being branded a

"major scientific discovery" as it suggested stem cells no longer had to be taken from embryos or made with complex and costly genetic manipulation.

While the pioneering findings, which suggested simply shocking cells with acid could cause them to revert to stem cells, has not been discredited it has been called into question.

Wakayama reportedly told Japanese TV, "When conducting the experiment, I believed it was absolutely right. But now that many mistakes have emerged, I think it is best to withdraw the research paper at once and, using correct data and correct pictures, to prove once again the paper is right.

"If it turns out to be wrong, we would need to make it clear why a thing like this happened."

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Scientist admits mistakes in stem cell 'discovery'

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