International Journal of Medical Sciences

Impact factor
2.284

17 August 2018

ISSN 1449-1907 News feeds of published articles

Manuscript login | Account

open access Global reach, higher impact

Theranostics

Journal of Cancer

International Journal of Biological Sciences

Journal of Genomics

Journal of Bone and Joint Infection (JBJI)

Oncomedicine

Journal of Biomedicine

Nanotheranostics

PubMed Central Indexed in Journal Impact Factor

Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(4):309-322. doi:10.7150/ijms.23215

Review

While it is not deliberate, much of today's biomedical research contains logical and technical flaws, showing a need for corrective action

Yan He1,2✉, Chengfu Yuan3✉, Lichan Chen4, Yanjie Liu5, Haiyan Zhou6, Ningzhi Xu7✉, Dezhong Joshua Liao1,2,5✉

1. Key Lab of Endemic and Ethnic Diseases of the Ministry of Education of China in Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou 550004, P. R. China
2. Molecular Biology Center, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou 550004, P.R. China
3. Department of Biochemistry, China Three Gorges University, Yichang City, Hubei 443002, P.R. China
4. Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, Austin, MN 55912, USA
5. Department of Pathology, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou 550004, P.R. China
6. Clinical Research Center, Guizhou Medical University Hospital, Guiyang, Guizhou 550004, P.R. China
7. Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology & State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100021, PR China

Abstract

Biomedical research has advanced swiftly in recent decades, largely due to progress in biotechnology. However, this rapid spread of new, and not always-fully understood, technology has also created a lot of false or irreproducible data and artifacts, which sometimes have led to erroneous conclusions. When describing various scientific issues, scientists have developed a habit of saying “on one hand… but on the other hand…”, because discrepant data and conclusions have become omnipresent. One reason for this problematic situation is that we are not always thoughtful enough in study design, and sometimes lack enough philosophical contemplation. Another major reason is that we are too rushed in introducing new technology into our research without assimilating technical details. In this essay, we provide examples in different research realms to justify our points. To help readers test their own weaknesses, we raise questions on technical details of RNA reverse transcription, polymerase chain reactions, western blotting and immunohistochemical staining, as these methods are basic and are the base for other modern biotechnologies. Hopefully, after contemplation and reflection on these questions, readers will agree that we indeed know too little about these basic techniques, especially about the artifacts they may create, and thus many conclusions drawn from the studies using those ever-more-sophisticated techniques may be even more problematic.

Keywords: Biotechnology, reproducibility, Artifacts, Reverse transcription, Polymerase chain reactions, microRNA, siRNA

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
He Y, Yuan C, Chen L, Liu Y, Zhou H, Xu N, Liao DJ. While it is not deliberate, much of today's biomedical research contains logical and technical flaws, showing a need for corrective action. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(4):309-322. doi:10.7150/ijms.23215. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v15p0309.htm