Doubts have emerged over a research proposal that stem cell scientist Haruko Obokata submitted less than two years ago to the Riken institute when applying for her current position, a draft report on her hiring showed Thursday.

A third-party panel set up under government-backed Riken found that a purported image of human cells in the document was the same as an image of mouse cells that Obokata had used in her doctoral dissertation, the draft said.

The panel also found multiple sections of text in the document's English section to be identical to those in a patent application document relating to STAP cells that was filed by Harvard University, where she once studied.