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Obokata to withdraw much-maligned thesis on stem cells

Kyodo

Haruko Obokata, the lead author of papers on allegedly groundbreaking stem-cell research, has expressed her intention to withdraw the doctoral thesis she submitted to Waseda University, an official at the college said.

In an email to a faculty member at the university, Obokata, a researcher at the government-affiliated Riken institute, said she plans to retract her thesis, Waseda’s public relations office reported.

The introductory part of her thesis, published in 2011, contains passages found on the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s website. The thesis has also drawn criticism on the Internet for its alleged use of doctored images, prompting Waseda to conduct an investigation.

It’s unclear if Obokata explained in the email why she wanted to withdraw the thesis.

Obokata was lead author of two papers in the British science journal Nature on stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells. Riken admitted Friday that the STAP cell papers show evidence of serious malpractice.