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March 23 2011

In Search of Equipoise

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of General Internal Medicine (Drs Chopra and Davis), and Division of General Pediatrics and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Dr Davis), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

JAMA. 2011;305(12):1234-1235. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.363

In 1974, Summerlin proudly displayed white mice with black patches of fur, claiming that he had successfully transplanted tissue from unrelated animals without rejection.1 He confessed to deception when laboratory assistants discovered that the transplanted sites were blemished by alcohol, leading to use of the phrase “painting the mice” to indicate research fraud. In 2005, Korean scientist Hwang was lauded when he proclaimed that he had created the world's first stem cells from a human embryo. The praise was short-lived when his own university concluded that his work was also fraudulent.

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