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Baltimore case reopened.

Baltimore case reopened

The National Institutes of Health last week reopened its investigation of Nobel laureate David Baltimore and several colleagues amid speculation that potentially damaging evidence would be revealed at a congressional hearing late this week. Baltimore, who directs the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., and colleague Thereza Imanishi-Kari, formerly at the MAssachusetts Institute of Technology and now at Tufts University School of MEdicine in Boston, have been unable to shake off fraud allegations prompted by their surprising results pertaining to the mouse immune system in the April 25, 1986 CELL.

The new evidence comes from Secret Service agents who reportedly examined Imanishi-Kari's laboratory notebooks, finding clues that some dates had been changed. The forensic experts were scheduled to testify at a May 4 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.

In February, NIH released a report prepared by three outside scientists brought in to investigate the allegations of scientific misconduct (SN: 2/11/89, p.85). Their review found no evidence of fraud but did identify serious inaccuracies and clerical errors in the CELL paper.

Now NIH officials are questioning the concousion of the investigative report. They say the new probe results from further questions raised by Margot O'Toole, the postdoctoral student who triggered the initial investigation after working in Imanishi-Kari's laboratory.

Some scientists speculate that renewed congressional involvement in the case may leads to a federally imposed system to identify and penalize government-funded scientists engaging in fraud or misconduct.
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Title Annotation:David Baltimore; scientific misconduct
Publication:Science News
Date:May 6, 1989
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