RNA researcher investigated

Effects on the field are still unknown, researchers say, but one advance may be in jeopardy

Jack Lucentini(Jekluc2001@yahoo.com)
Oct 3, 2005

A probe into the validity of many findings from a noted RNA researcher won't seriously set back the field, experts say—but it does cause problems, and cast doubt on at least one key advance.

Kazunari Taira, the University of Tokyo researcher, reported last year that small RNAs in mammals could silence genes via a second pathway besides a known one. That raised hopes for new therapeutic strategies against diseases including cancer.

But Taira's findings have since fallen under scrutiny, and now, "there's reason to think there isn't" this second pathway, said Bryan Cullen, professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University in Durham, NC. Taira's group has published a correction to the methods section of its Nature paper, and retracted an earlierNature paper on a different subject.

However, Cullen and other RNA-silencing specialists who have cited Taira's work told The Scientist they don't think the investigation will...

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