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In January 2014 Obokata, head of her laboratory at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, published two breakthrough articles in Nature. She and her colleagues transformed the mouse blood cells into something similar to embryonic stem cells. She put the blood cells in citric acid and waited for half an hour. After that, the cells could multiply abundantly and could grow into any type of cell in the body. So the blood cells become pluripotent. Within days of her two articles being published, disturbing allegations appeared in science blogs and on Twitter. She put images in her article which looked doctored and she copied some of her articles from other paper. (Rasko and Power, 2015) One of the problems was a figure that showed electrophoresis gels. In a diagram one lane was switched to another. She made the switch because the other lane was clearer. According to a committee, the switch was intentionally misleading manipulation. Obokata used an image in one of her articles from her doctoral thesis that showed teratoma cells which had a broad-ranging developmental capacity made by putting pressure on the membrane of the cells by pipette. However, in her article she said that the cells had been stressed by acid. Obokata said that it was an unintentional mistake. However, the committee noticed that the captions are different so the mistake was intentional. (Cyranoski, 2014) Riken began investigating and on the first of April, Obokata was found to be guilty due to scientific misconduct. Obokata apologised for all her mistakes but she still claimed that STAP (“stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency”) cells exist. Although her experimental procedure was simple, no one could repeat it. So those who tried to do it, asked Nature to retract Obokata’s articles. In June, Obokata also asked Nature to retract her articles. Subsequently, genetic analysis demonstrated that the STAP cells are not from those mice which were mentioned in the article. People found out that her STAP cells were just embryonic stem cells which were taken from the freezer and relabelled. (Cyranoski, 2014) Yoshiki Sasai, who was Obokata’s supervisor, was one of those who has been criticised. Sasai was overwhelmed with shame. In early August, after a month in hospital for depression, Sasai committed suicide. She left behind three farewell notes. One of them was addressed to Obokata and it asked Obokata to reproduce STAP cells. Riken gave an opportunity to Obokata and her team to make Sasai’s request possible. Obokata and her team tried to reproduce STAP cells for eight months and in December, they admitted that they cannot create STAP cells again. Obokata was baffled by the fact that they could not reproduce STAP cells and Obokata resigned. In the end of the year, Riken wrote a final report about the happenings. The report said that Obokata had falsified and fabricated data so her STAP cells were actually embryonic stem cells and the swap was not accidental, although there is not any proof that says the opposite. (Rasko and Power, 2015)

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