A contentious paper in which British scientists claimed to have created the first human sperm from embryonic stem cells has been retracted by the journal Stem Cells and Development, apparently because two paragraphs in the introduction were plagiarized.
The plagiarism doesn't affect the science behind the research or its conclusions, according to Newcastle University officials, the Associated Press reported. The problem was blamed on a research associate who has since left the university.
But experts agreed plagiarism raises concerns about the study's credibility.
"This is clearly scientific misconduct," Allan Pacey, secretary for the British Fertility Society, told the AP. "I can understand why people might think, if they were sloppy here, maybe they were sloppy elsewhere."
In the paper, the Newcastle University team reported that they'd created sperm in the laboratory and that their achievement might one day help infertile men have children. However, critics said the stem cell-derived sperm didn't have the shape, movement or function of real sperm.