Science Retracts Chronic Fatigue Paper

Science makes a decision for the authors and retracts a paper suggesting a viral cause for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Edyta Zielinska
Dec 23, 2011

FLICKR, STRIATIC

The journal Science took an unusual step yesterday and retracted a paper without the full consent of the authors, stating that it had lost confidence in the conclusions. The retraction notice signed by Science Editor in Chief, Bruce Alberts, stated that the authors could not come to agreement on the wording. “It is Science’s opinion that a retraction signed by all the authors is unlikely to be forthcoming,” he wrote in the notice.

The retracted study had suggested a link between a virus called XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, after repeated attempts neither the original lab nor other researchers were able to reproduce the results. And after a new Science study was published in September further discrediting the results, the authors of the original paper issued a partial retraction of their work because DNA plasmids they used were contaminated with XMRV.

In addition, the lead author...

“We regret the time and resources that the scientific community has devoted to unsuccessful attempts to replicate these results,” Alberts concluded in the retraction notice.