Behind the Scenes: The people who debunked Ax21

A few months ago I wrote a blog post highlighting  the two retractions  that took place in our lab ///one Science and one PloS One///. The topic has since attracted much attention, with articles written in The Scientist and Scientific American. Pamela Ronald and the rest of us received much praise for how we handled the situation and strived towards setting the scientific record straight. We even made it into the Top 10 Retractions of 2013 -> In a good way!!! It was certainly a very long and challenging endeavor (18+ months) for all of the actors that were a part of this journey. For sure, at times it was more like a nightmare inflicting both scientific and personal scares, though eventually we exited the once long and dark tunnel stronger and as better scientists.

However, who was the driving force behind all of these scientific corrections? Who are the scientists who figured out that there was something wrong in the proposed role of Ax21 in the bacteria as well as in activating rice immunity? For sure, actual people must have done the work, inspired each another and diligently followed the data.

This answer can be found in our recent congenially communally co-directed PeerJ paper ///An excellent ‘journal’ that we can only most highly recommend to everyone///. The main actors in debunking Ax21 are named as authors and include the following:

Ofir Bahar and Rory Pruitt as experimental, intellectual and conceptual leads.

Dee Dee Luu, Benjamin Schwessinger, Arsalan Daudi, Furong Liu, Randy Ruan, Lisa-Fontaine-Bodin and Ralf Koebnik as support cast, contributing immensely intellectually, conceptually and experimentally.

And, last but not least, Pamela Ronald as scientific producer.

Unfortunately our rice expert support cast Mawsheng Chern did not make it on to the paper due to highly variable scenes in the pre-treatment shots. Nonetheless he contributed intellectually and conceptually.

This last part of the Ax21 story published in PeerJ was also featured on Retraction Watch, where Pamela Ronald accurately answered some tricky questions. In case YOU have any questions left please come and join us at our ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with PeerJ on February 11th at 9:00-9:30 am PST ///link tba///.

In summary we are very excited this piece of data was published. We are happy to set the scientific record straight about the role of the bacterial protein Ax21 in rice biology. We hope other people, who have been working on orthologous proteins, will follow suit. To make life easier for everyone, we also corrected our Annual Review in Plant Biology article. We reasoned unless it was fixed, it might become really confusing for everyone starting to learn about rice immunity by reading a recent review from our lab.

Finally!!! We closed this chapter! Dried out the swampland!

We NOW look forward to being the architects of progressive everlasting castles.