It's About Time To Start Your Erroneous Paper Report.

Here are some examples of suitable topics:

Reports that actin and/or myosin fibers literally contract (in the sense of shortening in length, instead of sliding past each other.

Reports of actual contraction of fibers inside flagella and/or cilia (again, instead of sliding filaments).

Reports that bacterial flagella undulate, like miniature versions of eukaryotic flagella.

Reports that proteins are synthesized by proteases surrounded by very high concentrations of free amino acids. (You CAN make them that way, but you just get random sequences of amino acids).

Interpretations of mitochondrial and/or chloroplast structure (and ATP synthesis) that were made before the chemiosmotic hypothesis was proposed and (10 years later!) became generally accepted.

Papers about the causes and best treatment of ulcers that were published before acceptance of Helicobacter pylori as the major cause.

The best strategy is to focus on major breakthroughs (Kuhn's "Paradigm Shifts"), when revolutionary changes occurred in beliefs about any particular biological phenomena. Then find published research papers on that subject before the breakthrough occurred.

Nature, Science and PNAS have yearly or bi-yearly indexes of topics. These can sometimes be more useful than on-line searches. Please do not ask librarians for help on this project. For one thing, it is somewhat unfair to other students. In the past, they have consistently given bad advice, such as steering students to examples of fraud. Hardly any of them can grasp the idea of seeking out examples of research that reached mistaken conclusions that were plausible, convincing and often for a long time, but which have turned out to be wrong. Consider that about 10% of concepts that we now accept (and teach) as certainties, will eventually be disproven, perhaps by you. Most breakthroughs are replacement of one kind of explanation by a very different one. Please notice that the purpose is to study the process by which breakthrough discoveries get made. We should realize that few major discoveries replace nothing; scientists usually had some other explanation, that they confidently accepted as proven. Before that explanation became accepted, there was usually some earlier explanation, that also seemed certain, until a better idea came along. Such previous explanations can often be so ingenious, and so plausible, they can almost convince you. If you like "alternative futures" science fiction, you should enjoy this assignment.

(But that many students in the past have thought would be OK).

Don't report on fraudulent papers, that turned out to be deliberate fakes. Examples of honest mistakes are what we want, because the demonstrate how plausible previous paradigms were, and how difficult it was to make breakthroughs.

Don't report on Beadle and Tatum's "one gene, one enzyme" concept, because they were making a big forward step.
I admit that many genes code for structural proteins, transcription factors, adhesion proteins, etc. but Beadle and Tatum successfully explained a whole bunch of eye color mutants in flies, and auxotrophic (amino acid requiring, etc.) mutations in Neurospora; indeed a large fraction of the genes that people were studying before WW II.

Don't report on changes in definitions. One student reported on a paper that discovered that AIDS is caused by (I forget the name exactly; some kind of leukemia virus) which was the name originally given to HIV.

Don't report that Hans Krebs originally claimed that his tricarboxylic acid cycle started with a seven carbon sugar, instead of a 6 carbon sugar. He was much closer to the truth than anyone else at the time.

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