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Controversial BU Study Retracted

Authors of a Boston University study have retracted their findings after identifying specific genes linked to individuals living to be 100 years of age or older.

Originally published in the journal Science in July 2010, the study received a great deal of publicity, as well as intense criticism. Newsweek in particular noted doubts from methodology experts who questioned the technicalities of the study, such as what equipment the researchers used to analyze DNA.

Science officially retracted the original manuscript and, in spite of the researchers’ efforts to resubmit data after undergoing quality control measures, the study does not merit publication. “We feel the main scientific findings remain supported by the available data,” they said in an official statement. “[However], the specific details of the new analysis change substantially from those originally published online to the point of becoming a new report.”

According to a spokeswoman for the two researchers, Dr. Thomas Perls and Paola Sebastiani, they plan to republish their corrected data in a different journal.

Science did go on to say that the researchers at BU did not display and misconduct and that, on average, three to five of the 800 articles published each year are retracted. “Science takes all such cases extremely seriously, and strives to amend the scientific literature as promptly as possible,” the statement said.

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