Metabolic theory spat heats up

Proponents of biological "theory of everything" call for retraction of a critical paper

Brendan Borrell
Nov 7, 2007
The authors of a controversial theory about the scaling of metabolic rate are demanding the retraction of a paper that criticized their work in a letter published in the November 1 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.The theory, proposed by Geoffrey West and collaborators a decade ago, explains how basal metabolic rate and other physiological features vary with body size. In 2005, West, currently at the Santa Fe Institute, published an invited review in JEB detailing recent advances in the field. In response, José Guilherme Chaui-Berlinck of the Universidade de São Paulo last year published a paper in the journal questioning both the empirical support for the model and its mathematical derivation.But according to West and his colleagues, Chaui-Berlinck's conclusion was based on a mistranscription of one of their equations and an error in his calculus. "He made a pretty fundamental mistake, and we were surprised it...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?