The government-backed research institution at the center of a scandal over faked work is putting most of the blame on scientist Haruko Obokata and to a lesser extent three of her former colleagues.

Obokata, 31, who has already resigned from Riken, merits disciplinary discharge for fraud, the severest punishment possible for staff researchers, Kiyofumi Tsutsumi, director of the institution's human resources division, said Tuesday.

Riken is also considering seeking criminal charges against her and compensation for the misuse of research funds, a second official said.