Technology & Science

Nobel Prize winner retracts Science paper

A Nobel Prize-winning researcher has retracted a 2006 paper on how odours stimulate brain cells in mice.

'I sincerely apologize for any confusion,' Linda Buck writes

A Nobel Prize-winning researcher has retracted a 2006 paper on how odours stimulate brain cells in mice.

The paper published on March 10, 2006 — less than two years after co-author Linda Buck won the Nobel Prize in Medicine — reported that a mix of two different odours stimulated neurons in the brain that weren't activated by each of the individual odours.

However, Buck's laboratory has been unable to reproduce the findings of that paper, Buck wrote in a retraction published in this week's issue of Science.

"I sincerely apologize for any confusion this may have caused," stated Buck, a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Zhihua Zhou, who co-authored the paper with Buck, declined to sign the retraction. Zhou, now an assistant professor of neuroscience and cell biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, worked with Buck at the Fred Hutchinson institute, where he was a postdoctoral researcher from 2002 to 2005.

Buck was co-winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology with Richard Axel of Columbia University. They were honoured for finding a group of 1,000 genes and receptors for the sense of smell that clarified the olfactory system from the molecular to cellular level.

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