Science doesn't believe in MAGIC

Following a final report from a prominent South Korean university, __Science__ formally retracted a paper today (Apr. 23) from Korean researcher Kim Tae-kook purportedly reporting a new technology to identify drug targets called magnetism-based interaction capture (MAGIC). Kim Tae-kookImage: AFP/KAISTIn linkurl:February 2008,; Kim was suspended from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), where he was a faculty member, afte

By | April 23, 2009

Following a final report from a prominent South Korean university, __Science__ formally retracted a paper today (Apr. 23) from Korean researcher Kim Tae-kook purportedly reporting a new technology to identify drug targets called magnetism-based interaction capture (MAGIC).
Kim Tae-kook
In linkurl:February 2008,; Kim was suspended from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), where he was a faculty member, after a preliminary report from the university investigating two of his studies concluded that "the two papers do not contain any scientific truth." The studies -- the now-retracted Science paper, published in 2005, and a 2006 paper in__ linkurl:Nature Chemical Biology; __(NCB) -- characterized MAGIC, a way to use magnetized nanoparticles to track protein movements in order to find new molecular drug targets. The __NCB__ paper was retracted last July, before the KAIST committee had wrapped up its internal investigation. All nine of the study's authors signed the linkurl:retraction letter,; including Kim, although Kim maintained in an editor's note that the scientific irregularities were confined to only one figure in the paper. __Science__ published an "editorial expression of concern" in March 2008 and started discussing the text of a retraction with Kim in May 2008, but "had concerns with some of [Kim's] proposed language," linkurl:Natasha Pinol,; a __Science__ spokesperson, told __The Scientist__ in an email. The journal then waited for KAIST's final ruling, which it received and had translated into English last month, before deciding conclusively that many of the results in the 2005 study had been fabricated. Original notebooks and data from both studies have gone missing, according to both the __Science__ and __NCB__ retractions, and so cannot be used to substantiate the findings of the papers. "Since almost a year elapsed between the interim findings and release of the final report to us, we decided that we were not willing to enter into negotiations regarding the wording of the retraction," said Pinol. "Dr. Kim did offer to sign the retraction with some modifications but we did not accept his offer." Instead, the journal opted for an "editorial retraction" authored by editor-in-chief linkurl:Bruce Alberts.;
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Korean researcher fired for fraud;
[3rd March 2008]*Authors retract Science paper
[26th July 2007]*linkurl:All Hwang human cloning work fraudulent;
[10th January 2006]


April 24, 2009

What is happening here? Has the need to make a novel 'splash' finding related to using molecular technology for drug delivery systems completely stripped these investigators of their moral and/or ethical compass? We all must keep in mind that the retraction of a paper marks the end of a long and protracted journey on the way to self-correcting erroneous and in this case fabricated results. However, imagine all of the monetary resources and person power that might have been spent in trying to confirm or refute the results of this now retracted paper. What a shame!!
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anonymous poster

Posts: 51

April 24, 2009

Fraudulence in biomedical sciences became these days a hallmark of the this field. Is this because of the concept of publish or perish , fame and competition for grants?
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anonymous poster

Posts: 77

April 24, 2009

On a critical note, Science and Nature have some of the least credible review processes in the scientific journal business (their proclivity for "headline research" being an added bias). \n\nOn the one hand, they approve or disapprove papers without appeal on a first-read head-count but, on the other, it takes them a year and grand committees to admit a mistake. It's obvious that they make more mistakes than they admit to and that the solution is not to be found in the judicious correction of mistakes, but at the outset with the correction of their review and acceptance procedures.
Avatar of: Lawrence O

Lawrence O'Brien

Posts: 1

April 25, 2009

Why do you believe everything you read?\nJust because an article passes peer review does not make it magicly honest, correct or useful. True the system did not immediately catch the false information in the submission. My question is "So What?" It came to eventual light. If a real breakthrough had occurred off of relying on the published submission; how would your views be different?\n\nWhen an article is published in the soft sciences; it is more often than not that the published data gets a soft evaluation with critical factors omitted. Just as often, in the hard sciences we report experiments with critical cross-indexing for proper interpetation almost completely absent. Yet we feel both of these types of ommissions are perfectly alright\nand require no apology to the relevent literate population. \n\nI suggest you remember to be more than informed.\nWe all need to be active critical readers!\n\n
Avatar of: Ruth Rosin

Ruth Rosin

Posts: 117

April 26, 2009

You may not be aware of it. The journal's editor are definitely unaware of it. But this is their own fault!\n\nThis brings me back to my favorite subject, i.e. the fully justified opposition to the 1973 Nobel Prize winning "discovery" of the "instinctual" honeybee "dance language" (DL). According to the DL hypothesis, (first published by K. v. Frisch in a German scientific journal in 1946), honeybee-recruits obtain & use spatial information contained in their foragers' dances, about the (approximate) site of the foragers' food-source, (as well as various other sources), to help them find the source on their own.\n\nThe opposition to the DL hypothesis was launched by Wenner & his team, in Science of 1967. All of v. Frisch's evidence, and almost all the evidence in favor of the DL hypothesis, provided by very many others, is based on distributions of new-arrivals (among various, small, identical, man-made sources of attractive odors in the field). Wenner & his team, however, showed that such distributions are totally independent of DL information, and cannot, therefore, provide any valid evidence about use of such information. The authors claimed that recruits use only odor.\n\nIn 1975 Science published a study by J. L. Gould, who made foragers provide "misdirected" DL information, and claimed (based on his results, that recruits indeed, use only odor under Wenner's conditions, but they definitely use DL information under v. Frisch's conditions. (The difference resides only in the sugar-concentration, and type of odor in the solution used to train the foragers in preparation for actual tests.)\n\nGould's conclusions are based on the distributions of new-arrivals he obtained. The editors of Science failed to realize that by publishing Gould's study, they succumbed to the "magic" whereby distributions of new-arrivals, that were totally independent of DL information in 1967, have become totally dependent on that information in 1975.\n\nGould's study is still touted today by DL supporters. But DL opponents, who still do not believe in the "magic", adamantly refuse to settle for any compromise!\n\nThe "magic-wand" that wrought the "magic". was, undoubtedly, the fact that the Nobel Committee had already awarded the "discovery" of the honeybee DL with a Nobel Prize in 1973. And the fact that Gould's study was published in a preliminary form in Nature, in 1974, probably added to the "magic".\n\nThe truth of the matter is that there has never been, and there never could be, any valid evidence in favor of the DL hypothesis.Instead, there is only devastating evidence against that hypothesis, coming from many different directions. But DL supporters simply refuse to see that, for a totally misguided reason. They all, without exception, need no evidence for the existence of the honeybee DL, because they "know" that it must exist, in order to provide an adaptive value for the (seemingly) very complex, time & energy consuming dances, to avoid a severe crisis in the most important ruling paradigm over the whole field of Biology, i.e. The Theory of Evolution. This is explained in full detail by R. Dawkins in his 19076 book: "The Extended Phenotype". Dawkins had already published a scathing attack (cited in that book) on Wenner & his team in Science of 1969. The editors of Science refused to grant Wenner & his team the right to self-defense!Dawkins' letter only exposes his own penchant to delude himself, which is made obvious in the detailed report about this episode, in the 1990 book by Wenner & Wells: "Anatomy of a Controversy: The Question of a "Language" Among Bees".\n\nThe problem of the adaptive value of honeybee -dances is simply a non-problem, because it is possible to provide a highly plausible hypothetical explanation of the dances as a combination of many different component responses. Problems of adaptivity must, therefore, be addressed to each of the separate components, but the combination as a whole, does not have to have an additional adaptive value of its own, as a combination. See Rosin, R. (2000).Does the existence of honey bee dances require the existence of a honey bee "dance language"? Amer. Bee. J. 140(2): 98.\n\nThe irony of the study by Gould (1975) is even far greater than I originally thought. I am one of those who like Wenner, and all other scientists, was originally fooled into accepting the existence of the honeybee DL. The issue concerns the very foundations of the whole field of Behavioral Science, and the very foundations of Science itself. I shall skip the details here, but I am determined never to allow anyone to fool me again about this issue. I, therefore, took a god look at Gould (1975), and found out, among others, that his users of only odor, turned out to be far more efficient than his presumed users of DL information, in terms of the average number of dances performed per new-arrivals.. See Rosin, R. (1978). The honey "language" controversy. J. theoret. Biol. 72: 589-602.\n\nThis was to be expected if honeybee-recruits use only odor, and no DL information, because under both v. Frisch's conditions & Wenner's conditions, actual tests are conducted using a scented solution of high sugar-concentration. Under Wenner's conditions the same solution, with the same odor, is used also for training the foragers. Under v. Frisch's conditions , however, training the foragers is done with a sugar-solution of low concentration, (which suppresses dancing), and a different odor than the one used in tests. As a result , potential-recruits were already far more strongly conditioned to the experimental odor under Wenner's conditions, than under v. Frisch's conditions, and, therefore, far more efficient, before actual tests began.\n\nThe obvious implication, which DL supporters completely failed to realise, is that honeybees, (that must have had the ability to find sources of attractive odor by use of only odor, since they were flying insects, that had not yet evolved into social insects), could never evolve a DL whose use is less efficient than use of only odor, which they already had!\n\nWhat I have finally fully realized only recently is this: Gould obviously never helped save The Theory of Evolution, because he never obtained any valid evidence that recruits use DL information under any conditions, and because The Theory of Evolution never needed to be saved from the absence of a DL, what he actually accomplished unawares, is to land The Theory of Evolution into a state of severe crisis, by deluding himself, and all other DL supporters, into believing that honeybees were able to evolve a DL whose use is less efficient than use of only odor, which they already had!\n\nThus, while DL supporters have been trying "by hook and by Crook" to impose on honeybees a DL the bees never had, in the misguided belief, that they were, thus, saving The Theory of Evolution, what they have actually accomplish is to destroy that Theory.\n\nSo here's real "magic" for you!\n
Avatar of: Rohedi afasmt

Rohedi afasmt

Posts: 1

April 27, 2009

Maybe this post can be used as remembering tool for us to another magic keyword, that is the Pi number 3.141592653589793...that also called magic number. I don't know whether creating the Pi number still be regarded too difficult? If so, please visit to this link:\n\n\n\n\n\nAt the above link Rohedi introduces the new exact formula for calculating the Pi number. When the Pi exact formula is represented in Phi golden ratio that is pi(Phi) number that has been posted in this link:\n\n\n\n\n\nI believe all of you will agree Rohedi that Pi(Phi) number is the newest nice number beside the main nice number exp(i*pi)+1=0 from Leonhard Euler.\n
Avatar of: Ruth Rosin

Ruth Rosin

Posts: 117

April 29, 2009

In attempting to explain the effect of the low sugar-concentration (which suppresses dancing), and the odor, used for training the foragers under v. Frisch's conditions, I stated that: "As a result , potential-recruits were already far more strongly conditioned to the experimental odor under Wenner's conditions" at the start of actual tests.\n\nIn fact, some periods of dancing (accomplished by raising the concentration of the sugar-solution), did occur also during training under v. Frisch's conditions. (For instance, the foragers were made to dance, in order to test their dances after painting-over their ocelli; which had to be done to make them provide "misdirected" information. A sugar concentration that results in dancing was also used, as is commonly done, at the start of the first training. In addition, for each successive test Gould used left-over foragers from the previous test ,to recruit a total of about 30 foragers, to be used as active foragers, and as "bait" at all stations except the foragers'-station. This recruitment required that the left-over foragers dance.)However, whatever conditioning if potential-recruits to the training-odor might have occurred as a result, the most important point is that it was not only far weaker than under Wenner's conditions, but that it was a conditioning to the training odor, which, under v. Frisch's conditions, differed from the testing-odor. Thus, at the start of actual tests under v. Frisch's conditions, potential-recruits needed not only to become gradually conditioned to the testing-odor, but they had to first gradually become de-conditioned to the testing odor.\n\nThis point would interest only aficionados of the honeybee "dance language" controversy. Nonetheless, I feel obligated to add this clarification.

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