Scientific Ethics  2(3): 58-60, 2007



© Truthfinding Cyberpress



A Pioneer Award Has Been Used for Stealing Credit from a True Pioneer


Shi V. Liu


Eagle Institute of Molecular Medicine

Apex, NC 27502, USA


Corresponding with


(Received 2007-07-23; revised 2007-07-30; accepted 2007-07-31; published 2007-07-31)




Liu’s prediction of non-random DNA strand segregation and precise drawings of the retaining of old template DNA strand by the mother cell and receiving of young template DNA strand by the daughter cell has been published for years.  Thomas A. Rando of Stanford University knew about the existence of such publications but omitted them entirely in both his research publication and review.  His downright distortion of history and his outright credit robbery is a more serious offense than any other experimental data fabrication and falsification misconduct because it is an insult to science and a crime to humanity.




Science progresses step by step but recognizing prior contribution is an essential requirement for preventing reinvention of the wheels and avoiding waste of time and resources.  Unfortunately, the neglect committed by Western mainstream towards a new cell life theory advanced by Shi V. Liu over a decade ago has not only caused a delay in cell life research and a deprivation of due credit to a true pioneer but also resulted in waste of time and resource in re-discovery and accreditation to pretenders.  Thomas A. Rando received a NIH Director’s Pioneer Award yet used this public money to experimentally validate a discovery that was previously communicated without, however, giving appropriate credit to it.  Amazingly, unlike those mature scientific disciplines such as physics where theoretical discoveries often received primary recognition and major if not all the credit, a theoretical original discovery has been despised by the mainstreamers even when their later experimental observations confirmed that discovery.  Thomas A. Rando of Stanford University is just one of those exposed “scientists” who apparently ignored prior discovery on purpose and claim their much later observations as “unexpected” “discovery”.  Rando’s misconduct is to be qualified as most serious and severe because he actually used a pioneer award to make repeated efforts for stealing a credit from a true pioneer and he did so despite the fact that he has been given prior warnings and despite a personal encounter with the true pioneer that should have clarified the matter such that Rando´s misconduct should have stopped thereafter.




Shi V. Liu, Discovery, Thomas A. Rando, Deception, Truth, Lie, Falsification, Plagiarism, Misconduct, Cell life, DNA segregation, Non-random, Asymmetry, Polarity, Aging, Pioneer, Pretender,  Science in China, Logical biology, PLoS Biology, Cell



Thomas A. Rando, a faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine, received a NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2005 (  This award is actually a big research grant amount to $500,000 a year for five years to support pioneering research (  Using that money, Rando’s team has made some “unexpected” observations on non-random DNA template strand segregation in the division of stem cells (3).

However, Rando’s “pioneering” research is not pioneering at all.  This is because not only some earlier publications had concluded that DNA strand segregation is non-random (9) and have even shown such regular strand distribution patterns precisely using virtual labeling in some in silico experiments (6, 7) but also some experimental observations supporting the above pioneering theoretical discovery had also been published (1, 2) before his so called “unexpected” “discovery” (3).

Rando was given that knowledge on the previous findings in a research meeting, the 3rd International Conference on Functional Genomics of Ageing, last year (8).  After he talked about his paradox findings he was given a much more logical explanation as already published before – the old template strand retaining cell was not a “daughter” cell but still the pre-exiting mother cell.  He was invited to see the precise drawing of non-random and aging-meaningful DNA segregation patterns shown in a poster displayed at that research meeting.

Ethical scientists would normally include a reference to earlier related publications even if they would disagree with the conclusion of those publications.  However, Rando simply ignored those publications he clearly knew when he later published his research findings (3).  He even continued to describe his observations as “unexpected” and “surprising”.

After reading Rando’s research publication I published two articles revealing the scientific mistakes (4) and ethical misconduct  (5) of Rando, respectively.  I urged him to do an appropriate action regarding my criticisms.  However, he not only ignored these challenges but also continued his crusade of stealing credit.

In a later review that just published in Cell (10), Rando continued his mistaken view that his observation proves the immortal strand hypothesis and “also expands the scope of the immortal strand hypothesis”.  He also continued his distortion of the research history in this area by stating that “To date, no studies have shed any light on the biochemical mechanism by which template strands, differing in replicative age by as little as one cell division, might be differentially recognized, aligned, and segregated during mitosis”.

However, if one compares what I had published years before and what Rando has just published recently one can see what a great lie that Rando has told.

First of all, the non-random DNA strand segregation was not unexpected but well predicted.

Secondly, there is already a possible mechanism proposed for the non-random segregation.  The old template DNA strand is retained by the mother cell as part of the old mother’s component and the young template DNA strand made by the mother for the daughter is given to the daughter.

Thirdly, there is also an implication identified for that non-random DNA strand segregation – the existence of a molecule-cell aging axis that links DNA aging with cell aging.

Fourthly, that DNA-Cell aging link has been used for a better understanding of the respective contribution of genetic and epigenetics to the inheritance and adaptation of biotic characters.

In my previous criticisms on Rando’s misconduct, I have charged him with a high-level plagiarism (5).  This charge still apply because Rando’s ideas, even if were his own, were not original to him but were described as his original ones.  In that way, he has given no credit to pioneers for their original advancement of such ideas.  This misappropriation of credit is a clear misconduct.

Now what I wish to focus on is Rando’s data falsification misconduct when he performed a reviewing research that was supported by a public fund – the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.

This time I wish to use the policy of Stanford University ( to directly frame my charge.

The definitions on research misconduct as given by the Research Policy handbook of Stanford University include:

“Research misconduct” is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

Falsification means manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

Plagiarism means the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.


Rando wrote a review as a published research record for a top journal, more precisely for Cell (10).  In this reviewing research on the DNA strand segregation he continued in omitting many important publications originally proposing non-random DNA strand and even ignored some earlier publication showing experimental evidence in agreement with that proposal.  His dishonest conduct is a significant departure from the accepted practices of performing a review which should be based on thorough searching of published records and fair assessment of all different views.  His misconduct has been committed intentionally (knowing the existence of other prior publications but recklessly ignoring them) and is proven by a preponderance of the evidence (shown at least in two high-profile publications).  The goal of Rando’s conduct has been very clear: hiding previous knowledge so he can misrepresent his later observations as “unexpected” novel discovery and, more importantly to him, grab credit that would normally goes to true pioneers.  He did succeed in this goal, at least so far.

I should point out that the Stanford University policy is in agreement with the research misconduct  definition given in the Federal Register (42 CFR parts 50 and 93).  The reason that I used the Stanford’s own policy to present my case is to prevent any intentional effort to reject my charge based on some biased interpretation of the federal definition on research misconduct.

I should also reveal that someone had argued that omitting non-mainstream publications is acceptable, especially when access to those publications requires a payment.  However, this is a typical pirate’s logic.  A publication is a publication no matter where it was published and who published it.  A non-free publication is still a publication and deserves its respect.  If one can escape a misconduct charge by claiming of no interest to read a publication or unable to pay for that publication, then there will be no scientific priority in this research world.  Any one can claim a novel discovery by not reading all prior publications.

Rando, you have used half of your Pioneer Award for reinventing the wheels of an existing discovery and for stealing credit from a true pioneer.  What are you going to do with the rest of the research fund that was intended for you to do some truly pioneering and ethical work?



1.     Armakolas, A., and A. J. Klar. 2006. Cell type regulates selective segregation of mouse chromosome 7 DNA strands in mitosis. Science 311:1146-9.

2.     Armakolas, A., and A. J. Klar. 2007. Left-right dynein motor implicated in selective chromatid segregation in mouse cells. Science 315:100-1.

3.     Conboy, M. J., A. O. Karasov, and T. A. Rando. 2007. High incidence of non-random template strand segregation and asymmetric fate determination in dividing stem cells and their progeny. PLoS Biol 5:1120-1126.

4.     Liu, S. V. 2007. I am the mother, you stupid! - A correct perspective and a benign wish. Logical Biology 7:29-33.

5.     Liu, S. V. 2007. I cannot believe this, you shameful! - A revelation of a severe publishing misconduct. Sci. Ethics 2:48-50.

6.     Liu, S. V. 2005. Linking DNA aging with cell aging and combining genetics with epigenetics. Logical Biology 5:51-55.

7.     Liu, S. V. 2005. A Theoretical framework for understanding biotic aging from molecule to organism in multicellular life. Logical Biology 5:109-116.

8.     Liu, S. V. 2006. Presented at the 3rd International Conference on Functional Genomics of Ageing Palermo, Sicily, Italy, March 29th – April 1st

9.    Liu, S. V. 1999. Tracking bacterial growth in liquid media and a new bacterial life model. Science in China (Series C: Life Science) (English) 42:644-654.

10.   Rando, T. A. 2007. The immortal strand hypothesis: segregation and reconstruction. Cell 129:1239-43.