Nobel laureate and olfactory researcher Linda Buck has retracted a paper published in Nature in 2001, after her team failed to reproduce the results. In the retraction, published in the March 6 issue of Nature, the authors report "inconsistencies between some of the figures and data published in the paper and the original data."
In the retracted paper, which has been cited 138 times according to ISI, Buck, then at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and her team describe tracking neuronal activity in mice from individual scent receptors in the nose through to the olfactory cortex in the brain. Now at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Buck's team tried to replicate and extend the work, but was unable to reproduce the original findings, a news story in this week's Nature reports.
According to a list of author contributions for the original paper that accompanies the retraction, co-lead-author Zhihua Zou, now at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, was solely responsible for analyzing the mice, generating the data, and providing the figures. Harvard Medical School has formed a committee to investigate the retraction, and Buck has asked the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to examine two subsequent publications with Zou as first author.
Update: Read Zou's response and the reactions of olfactory researchers.