Disappearing Data

Manipulated Electrophoresis Gel

Federico Infascelli et al.

(1) Fig. 1 from: “Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings”


(2) Fig. 1 with altered contrasts and brightness (edited by Thorsten Beck)

Published in Animal, 2010

Source: Cambridge University Press (website)

URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/animal/article/fate-of-transgenic-dna-and-evaluation-of-metabolic-effects-in-goats-fed-genetically-modified-soybean-and-in-their-offsprings/573558403680E9D29D5B8344412711A8/core-reader (Accessed September 12, 2018)

Cambridge University Press



“The case is very important also because these papers have been used politically in the debate on GM [genetically manipulated] crops.”

(Elena Cattaneo, Italian Senator; in: Palus, 2016)


This image was included in a paper that was used politically as a reference for the Italian senate’s opposition to genetically modified food. The research showed that genetically manipulated soya bean could have an impact on goat offsprings whose parents ate those soya beans. Due to its political significance, Elena Cattaneo, an Italian senator and neuroscientist, took a close look and discovered various aspects of image manipulation. She then commissioned an Italian forensic expert with an analysis of the images.


Federico Infascelli — who headed the research team that produced this paper — was accused of self-plagiarism, the erasure of elements from the images and image duplication and recycling. After uncovering the manipulation, Dr. Cattaneo contacted the University of Naples, which conducted a research integrity investigation. As a result, the paper was retracted. Afterwards Cattaneo herself had to face accusations in the Italian senate for acting as a lobbyist for biotech giant Monsanto.




Abbott, Allison. “Italian Papers on Genetically Modified Crops under Investigation.” Nature, January 18, 2016. https://www.nature.com/news/italian-papers-on-genetically-modified-crops-under-investigation-1.19183.


McCook, Allison. “Journal Flags Paper about GMO Foods over Concerns about Figures.” Retraction Watch, April 18, 2017. https://retractionwatch.com/2017/04/18/journal-flags-paper-gmo-foods-concerns-figures/.


Mogel, Karl H. v.. “Italian Research Group Subject of Data Fabrication Probe.” Biology Fortified, January 15, 2016. https://www.biofortified.org/2016/01/italian-research-group-subject-of-data-fabrication-probe/.


Palus, Shannon. “Another Paper by GM Researcher Pulled over Manipulation Concerns.” Retraction Watch, March 15, 2016. https://retractionwatch.com/2016/03/15/another-paper-by-gm-researcher-pulled-over-manipulation-concerns/.


Pubpeer. “Genetically Modified Soybean in a Goat Diet: Influence on Kid Performance.” Accessed August 29, 2018. https://pubpeer.com/publications/9971A31BEC955C2B9684A96E6EE639.


Tudisco, Raffaella, Vincenzo Mastellone, Monica I. Contragnelli, Pietro Lombardi, Fulvia Bovera, Nicola Mirabella, Giovanni Piccolo, Serena Calabrò, Luigi Avalone, and Federico Infascelli. “Fate of Transgenic DNA and Evaluation of Metabolic Effects in Goats Fed Genetically Modified Soybean and in Their Offspring.” Animal 04, no. 10 (October 2010): 1662-1671. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731110000728.


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