From Retraction Watch:
A Nobel Laureate has retracted a 2016 paper in Nature Chemistry that explored the origins of life on earth, after discovering the main conclusions were not correct.
Some researchers who study the origins of life on Earth have hypothesized that RNA evolved before DNA or proteins. If true, RNA would have needed a way to replicate without enzymes. The Nature Chemistry paper found that a certain type of peptide — which may have existed in our early history — made it possible for RNA to copy itself.
Jack W. Szostak—a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider for their pioneering research on aging—told us he was “incredibly excited” when he “thought we had at least a partial solution to this problem,” which researchers have been working on for over 50 years.
But in subsequent experiments, More.
The good news? They accepted the retraction of the paper and participated in the process.
Better news: The paper could actually be retracted! Wow. Origin of life attracts a lot of fanciful thinking and ideologically driven funding. So how do we know it isn’t all just the origin of hype? Because an OOL paper can be retracted. So there really is a definite fact base in there somewhere. Ironically, a retraction bolsters the field’s credibility.
Move this one from “pop science” to “serious science.”
See also: Nobelist Jack Szostak on origin of life research: “We’re halfway there”
Dutch universities involved in co-ordinated origin of life studies: More collaboration might result in fewer eurekas! and more meticulously worked out proposals. That could lend some needed seriousness to the discussion.
And once more: Life can arise naturally from chemistry!
Welcome to “RNA world,” the five-star hotel of origin-of-life theories
What we know and don’t know about the origin of life