Scientific Journal Tricked Into Publishing AI-Generated Paper About Rat With Massive … Ya Know


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology issued a retraction Friday after a paper written by artificial intelligence featuring very not-safe-for-work images was somehow published.

The original article, “Cellular functions of spermatogonial stem cells in relation to JAK/STAT signaling pathway,” was published Wednesday, and was purported to have been written by researchers from Hong Hui Hospital and Jiaotong University in China, according to the retraction notice. Please be warned, these images (shared on Twitter following the retraction) are really, really graphic.

All of the figures in the article were developed using artificial intelligence, according to the Telegraph. Not only are they absolutely nonsensical in any scientific sense, but they also appear to show a rat with a massive penis and four testicles.

Frontiers thanked “concerned readers” who contacted staff following the article publication, but many are voicing concerns over how the article was up on the site in the first place. Along with the ridiculous figures, the article used words like “dissilced” and “testtomcels” and other made up garbage. (RELATED: Harvard Scientist Claims Those Loud Mysterious Bangs You’re Hearing Are From UFOs — And They Almost Killed Us All)

“Of course, we can have a good laugh at these figures, and wonder how on earth the handling editor and the two peer reviewers didn’t catch this,” Dr. Elisabeth Bik, a microbiologist who also works to spot issues with scientific papers, said, according to the Independent. “But the paper is actually a sad example of how scientific journals, editors, and peer reviewers can be naive in terms of accepting and publishing AI-generated crap. These figures are clearly not scientifically correct, but if such botched illustrations can pass peer review so easily, more realistic-looking AI-generated figures have likely already infiltrated the scientific literature.”

China is currently in the throes of a nationwide review of research misconduct after more than 17,000 Chinese-written papers were retracted from English-language journals since 2021. There is no clear explanation as to what will happen once the review is completed, but it just goes to show you how “trusting the science” isn’t always the best idea.