Last year we discussed the story of an article, “Variation in the β-endorphin, oxytocin, and dopamine receptor genes is associated with different dimensions of human sociality,” published in PNAS that, notoriously, misidentified what a peptide was, among other problems.
Recently I learned of a letter published in PNAS by Patrick Jern, Karin Verweij, Fiona Barlow, and Brendan Zietsch, with the no-fooling-around title, “Reported associations between receptor genes and human sociality are explained by methodological errors and do not replicate.”
And here’s the response by one of the authors, Robin Dunbar, entitled
“Sorry, we got it wrong” “On asking the right questions.”
Too bad they couldn’t simply admit they made an error, stating clearly and without equivocation that their original conclusions were not substantiated. On the plus side, they weren’t as rude as these authors.
P.S. The other thing in that post was that I suggested to PNAS that they change their slogan from “PNAS publishes only the highest quality scientific research” to “PNAS aims to publish only the highest quality scientific research.” And they did it! So cool.