What does future hold for STAP stem cells? Possible paradox

stem cell crystal ballWhat will the future bring for STAP stem cells?

Let’s look into a stem cell crystal ball.

We are now one month out from the original publication of the papers.

When we are three or six or twelve months out from their publication will independent labs have succeeded in replicating the method? It’s possible, but it is also perhaps equally likely that that won’t have happened.

What about the papers–will they be corrected and that’s it? Or could they face something as severe as retraction by Nature?

One possible complicated, but not entirely improbable outcome would be a major paradox: the STAP method itself is successfully replicated by independent labs, but at the same time the STAP papers are retracted by Nature itself because of all the errors and alleged misconduct.

In that odd possible scenario the STAP stem cell method lives, but the Nature STAP stem cell papers are basically dead.

What do you predict for the STAP stem cell method, papers, and authors when say January 2015 rolls around, 1 year after publication?

Let us know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “What does future hold for STAP stem cells? Possible paradox


  1. All can happen, but I am positive, so I think it’s more likely that the study will be replicated and the papers will not be retracted


  2. Hi,

    I am a mathematician specialised in the theory of the distribution of prime
    numbers. Thus I have no professional knowledge about stem cells. Nevertheless, I follow your blog because of a good reason.

    My reply is: If Nature retracts the two papers by Obokata et al and if
    an independent [proof] is established about the creation
    of STAP stem cells following precisely (or with a minor modification) the protocol to be published by RIKEN, then the glory will go to the authors;
    that’s all. In the opposite situation, I hope strongly that the authors will deal with the issue as honest, honest, honest persons.

    Reading media articles and news about the STAP hysteria, I feel really
    lucky that I am a mathematician. Any discovery in mathematics, especially
    those theoretical (i.e., not depending on machine computing), can
    be checked without any heavy/expensive installation of experiment laboratories etc but with only [sound] logic. I should add that [honest]
    references to former/relevant works are extremely important in writing
    professional papers in general; the cliche “We (scientists) are standing
    on the shoulders of giants” is to be reminded!

    Best,
    Yoichi

    (PS: I am retired; thus I have no affiliation other than the Finnish
    Academy of Science and Letters. Although my web-page and email
    address are placed at Nihon University, they are temporary.)

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