Doñana fraud enquiry launched

LAST UPDATED: 22 Mar, 2012 @ 23:50
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Doñana fraud enquiry launched

AN investigation has been launched into what could be one of the biggest scientific frauds Spain has ever seen.

The National Research Council (CSIC) is investigating a Donana National Park scientist for altering – and even inventing – data in his studies.

Thousands of reports relating to avian viruses have been called into question after vet Jesus Angel Lemus, 38, was reported to the authorities in December.

The allegations, made by his bosses at the Biological Station at Donana, bring into question ‘the quality and accuracy of testing entrusted to Lemus’.

Much of it has already been published in several scientific journals.

The issue came to light when Lemus alleged that  more than half of the parrots living in Barcelona could have psittacosis, a disease that is transmissible to man.

It threatened to cause a major public health threat to the city.

But when his colleagues  carried out similar research to confirm this, they found a ‘lack of consistency’ between his findings and theirs.

However Lemus, who previously worked in the National Museum of Natural Sciences and has been widely published around the world, defends his studies.

The scientist, whose work is currently funded by the Junta, insisted: “They have told me they don’t believe the results.

“But it is merely an issue of confidence.”

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