Home Forums Sasquatch Forum Melba Ketchum’ s Response to the “Scientist Explains DNA”Episode

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  • #188813
    pam
    Participant

    Melba wrote this on Sasquatch Chronicles Fan Page:

    ” I probably shouldn’t waste my time responding, but as first author, the corresponding author of the paper, I must defend the science when it’s attacked. A recent podcast had an anonymous scientist on to go through my paper. He was either a govt plant, or intentionally set out to be critical of the paper. He obviously didn’t read the paper, but only looked at the pictures or figures by the uninformed and incorrect things he said. He’s even clueless about the testing. So here we go.

    1. The first part of the paper is unnecessary, he said. Well, the editor at Nature wanted it.
    2. He acts like I did all of the testing and writing. No, it was sent out to twelve highly qualified and accredited labs for testing. If he read the paper he would know this. Plus, there were multiple authors on the team as well as an editor that was well published that reviewed and critiqued the paper before we ever sent it out to a journal. All of these people agreed it’s content and the paper itself was worthy to be published and they all signed off literally to that effect before I could submit it to any journals.
    3. He says no universal primers were used. They absolutely were used. Both for screening the mitochondrial DNA for species as well as on the nuclear genes we sequenced. They were essential. If he read the paper he would know this. This is why we did the human mitochondrial sequencing because we already knew the results were human plus three other labs had the same results for human mtDNA before us. These mtDNA universal primers are what are used for species identification.
    4. He says we looked at genes on the mitochondrial DNA like TAP and the others in the paper. Those are NOT on the mitochondrial DNA.They are nuclear genes. Anyone with his supposed credentials should know this.
    5. I didn’t write the paper. Each scientist on the paper wrote from their expertise. The hair expert wrote the hair part, the whole genome person wrote the whole genome part. He acts like I wrote the entire thing. As a so called reviewer, he should know that one person doesn’t write a paper and he doesn’t even acknowledge that there were multiple highly qualified authors on the paper.
    6. He wants more pictures or figures. There was much more relevant data in the paper, making it too long so the editor at Nature had me trim it.
    7. After clearly establishing that this nonhuman hair yielded human DNA, everything from that point on was nuclear testing. Since the mtDNA was human, and the nuDNA not, then the only reasonable conclusion was a hybrid. He said the electron microscopy was unnecessary, but it was, if he’d read the paper. It’s important since it shows single stranded gaps which would occur in a hybrid because places in the sequence don’t align well or at all because there are two different species involved.
    7. The gels were clear. There was one sample that smudged and was degraded. The rest were clear bands. Talk about grasping at straws to be critical, really? If it’s degraded, there’s only a smudge, if there’s a band it’s not. The bands were clear there.
    8. All of our positive and negative controls worked as they should, unless he was referring to my blood as a control that I intentionally let decompose to show that the samples were not degraded ina comparison. Once again, if he read the paper instead of looking at the pretty pictures, he would know this.
    9. He referred to the whole genome 2.5 million SNP chip as sequencing. Any geneticist would know that a SNP chip is not whole genome sequencing.
    10. He was critical of the sample pictures near the end of the paper. If he’d read the paper, he would’ve realized that those pictures were of the the samples we used for whole genome sequencing, the real whole genome sequencing. Other than the pretty picture of the phylogenetic tree, he never mentioned anything about the whole genomes. There was pure blood on the inside of the downspout, so not a place for any type of mammalian contamination unless it was something small like a mouse. There was no small mammal DNA detected in the genome.
    11. The human forensic panel we used will also amplify great apes so it wasn’t biased. We used it to establish that the samples were from a primate, but not one that is totally human. This data also showed anomalies in the sex determinant, amelogenin. Which we sequenced thereafter. It gave varied results that were mostly nonhuman. Furthermore, the lack of consistency with the results overall is not bad DNA but a result of recombination of two different species in one organism.. in other words,, some will have more human DNA than others while others more nonhuman. It’s like some mules look more donkey like and some more like a horse. A crude example.. Against he didn’t read the paper, muchess think it through.
    12. He said he wanted to see raw data. The sequences were furnished via the figures. The electropherograms are not usually put in papers but were available for any reviewer that wanted to see them. Guess he couldn’t understand that. Detailed sequences were also available in the supplemental data. But he obviously didn’t read the paper or look at the supplemental data or he would have known this.
    13. He made the remark that we did biased human testing because we were a forensic lab. This was funny since my CV is downloadable from my website and I clearly worked with animal and human DNA. Out of all of my published papers, only one was pertaining to human.
    14. If everything he said was true, there would have been a bunch of geneticists standing in line to write a paper doing a rebuttal of our findings, like with Sykes’ paper. There was a peer reviewed rebuttal of his findings published by a group at Cambridge within a couple of months after his publication. So far, the only attempt at a rebuttal for our paper came from a discredited physical chemist, not a geneticist, and of course was never published in any journal. I have written proof he had no idea what he was talking about. So, this anonymous guy isn’t any better. He claims to be a molecular biologist, but if so, why not say who he is and where he works? Why did he show a fundamental lack of knowledge on the types of testing we did and what genes are in the nuclear DNA? Most of all, he allegedly spent two weeks studying our paper in preparation for the interview, yet it was obvious he didn’t read it. Is he really that lazy? Or was it an intentional hit job? I’ll let the reader decide.

    I could go on for hours defending the science from this so called anonymous scientist, but I had to hit the high spots. No I will not go on a podcast. No I won’t even mention its name. It’s not worth it. I only wrote this for those who heard it and by the way, my findings have been repeated and validated more than once. Won’t all of the critics be surprised when I bring it all out at the right time.”

    #188814
    Terri N
    Participant

    Pam,
    Thank you for posting this response! Ever since listening to the episode, I’ve had serious concerns about how it clearly attempted to further discredit Dr.Ketchum. We are Laymen out here, unable to understand the science that was shared on the episode, but instead trusted that Wes felt he’d done the honorable thing by airing the episode, explaining that Dr. Ketchum declined the interview. Personally, I’d have preferred it hadn’t aired without Dr. Ketchum’s presence, as now it may be the consensus that the entire study is discredited. That’s entirely unfair, in my view. I trust that Wes believes the guest scientist had no biased motivation for his views, but it remains that the subject matter shared was Entirely Pick Your Poison positioning in order to disallow / discredit evidence in the paper, as well as Incomplete as to the totality of the science within the paper.

    #188816
    Peter N
    Participant

    I am not a layman, this is my bread and butter.

    First I commend Dr. Ketchum’s courage for taking on the study in the first place. But there are many many issues with her study, and how she has dealt with its publication is really suspect.

    She is the first and communicating author of this study (that means she is the person who conducted the work, oversaw the study, and is responsible for preparing the manuscript). She initially submitted it to Nature, a prestigious journal with very high standards. When the editors rejected it, she submitted it to PLOS One. They declined to send it out for review.

    Multiple rounds of rejection, followed by revision and resubmission is generally the norm when preparing scientific evidence for publication. It is not uncommon for a manuscript to be shopped around to a large number of journals before finding a publisher. Through this painful process of multiple rounds of peer review, issues like those identified by John can be discussed and addressed. The resulting modifications to the manuscript that occur help enhance the overall quality and strength of the study. This is peer review. It is hard. It can be painful. It can take a lot of time.

    Instead of fighting to get her work published, she chose to self publish. As a result, the three complete genomes she claims to have generated will never be available for further study. It is now impossible for people to repeat her results or to build upon her work.

    Perhaps part of the confusion results from her lack of experience with the process of scientific publication. As per her suggestion, I did look up her CV. Most of the “publications” listed in her CV represent meeting abstracts. I could identify only four or five journal publications. She was the first and communicating author on only two of these:

    Ketchum, M. S. (1996) Neonatal Isoerythrolysis: Is Your Foal at Risk? Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse. August, 1996:154-155

    Ketchum, M. S. (1997) It’s in the Blood, Understanding Genetic Testing for Homozygous Tobiano Coloration Paint Horse Journal, April 1997:134-138

    I am sorry, but there is no need for some deep government conspiracy to suppress the publication of her data – she has done that herself.

    #188817
    Knobby
    Moderator

    Peter N. Her paper was peer reviewed and a reviewer sent it back to her for clarification and asking for things to be added. Its not uncommon for a paper to be sent back in this manner. A reviewer released information about what was originally missing in the paper, and critics who don’t believe in sasquatch, like Haskel Hart who like most all of these critics are not a geneticists themselves, ran with it and set out to discredit her, using the comments of the initial peer reviewer to discredit her.

    She resubmitted with the corrections. No matter how many times she tries to correct these critics who talk about things not in the paper, that were included in the final paper submitted, they will continue to repeat the pat line of things left out of the original draft, etc., to malign the paper. That’s why she keeps saying these people have not read her paper. They are all repeating each other with the same old crap, not that they have some original insight. That’s why time and again you will find her, like in this reply, correcting these people who say these things were not there, and commenting they must not have read her paper, which it seems a lot of her critics have not.

    You wrote, “I am sorry, but there is no need for some deep government conspiracy to suppress the publication of her data – she has done that herself.

    Do you not believe the government suppresses information about sasquatches? I’m not saying they are involved with maligning her, but you seem to dismiss that possibility. Its my observation that the greater the evidence you find will have the greatest scrutiny.

    As far as her self publishing, that’s one of those things used to discredit her, when how exactly does that discredit her? She claims there were several journals that had agreed to publish but then turned around and declined. You do realize the subject of sasquatch in an anathema in the scientific community. Its viewed as myth and entertaining it can lead to ridicule, which is a main reason for the scrutiny and lack of a journal willing to publish. So, she bought a journal to publish it in.

    All of her sequencing was done in university labs, most of which asked her not to identify them to avoid the scrutiny of the perceived bigfoot myth. Don’t you think these people who are critical of the paper have some confirmation bias, seen in repeated comments of there must have been contamination to get these results. Are scientists ever reluctant to accept something they don’t believe? that’s a rhetorical question.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Knobby.
    #188819
    Johnathan B
    Participant

    Regarding the latest episode with a guest breaking down Dr. Melba Ketchum’s et al paper, she has responded. Things are thrown back up into the air again for me. Would love to hear the guest’s response.

    https://www.facebook.com/100000063763125/posts/4274073909271359/

    I probably shouldn’t waste my time responding, but as first author, the corresponding author of the paper, I must defend the science when it’s attacked. A recent podcast had an anonymous scientist on to go through my paper. He was either a govt plant, or intentionally set out to be critical of the paper. He obviously didn’t read the paper, but only looked at the pictures or figures by the uninformed and incorrect things he said. He’s even clueless about the testing. So here we go.

    1. The first part of the paper is unnecessary, he said. Well, the editor at Nature wanted it.
    2. He acts like I did all of the testing and writing. No, it was sent out to twelve highly qualified and accredited labs for testing. If he read the paper he would know this. Plus, there were multiple authors on the team as well as an editor that was well published that reviewed and critiqued the paper before we ever sent it out to a journal. All of these people agreed it’s content and the paper itself was worthy to be published and they all signed off literally to that effect before I could submit it to any journals.
    3. He says no universal primers were used. They absolutely were used. Both for screening the mitochondrial DNA for species as well as on the nuclear genes we sequenced. They were essential. If he read the paper he would know this. This is why we did the human mitochondrial sequencing because we already knew the results were human plus three other labs had the same results for human mtDNA before us. These mtDNA universal primers are what are used for species identification.
    4. He says we looked at genes on the mitochondrial DNA like TAP and the others in the paper. Those are NOT on the mitochondrial DNA.They are nuclear genes. Anyone with his supposed credentials should know this.
    5. I didn’t write the paper. Each scientist on the paper wrote from their expertise. The hair expert wrote the hair part, the whole genome person wrote the whole genome part. He acts like I wrote the entire thing. As a so called reviewer, he should know that one person doesn’t write a paper and he doesn’t even acknowledge that there were multiple highly qualified authors on the paper.
    6. He wants more pictures or figures. There was much more relevant data in the paper, making it too long so the editor at Nature had me trim it.
    7. After clearly establishing that this nonhuman hair yielded human DNA, everything from that point on was nuclear testing. Since the mtDNA was human, and the nuDNA not, then the only reasonable conclusion was a hybrid. He said the electron microscopy was unnecessary, but it was, if he’d read the paper. It’s important since it shows single stranded gaps which would occur in a hybrid because places in the sequence don’t align well or at all because there are two different species involved.
    7. The gels were clear. There was one sample that smudged and was degraded. The rest were clear bands. Talk about grasping at straws to be critical, really? If it’s degraded, there’s only a smudge, if there’s a band it’s not. The bands were clear there.
    8. All of our positive and negative controls worked as they should, unless he was referring to my blood as a control that I intentionally let decompose to show that the samples were not degraded ina comparison. Once again, if he read the paper instead of looking at the pretty pictures, he would know this.
    9. He referred to the whole genome 2.5 million SNP chip as sequencing. Any geneticist would know that a SNP chip is not whole genome sequencing.
    10. He was critical of the sample pictures near the end of the paper. If he’d read the paper, he would’ve realized that those pictures were of the the samples we used for whole genome sequencing, the real whole genome sequencing. Other than the pretty picture of the phylogenetic tree, he never mentioned anything about the whole genomes. There was pure blood on the inside of the downspout, so not a place for any type of mammalian contamination unless it was something small like a mouse. There was no small mammal DNA detected in the genome.
    11. The human forensic panel we used will also amplify great apes so it wasn’t biased. We used it to establish that the samples were from a primate, but not one that is totally human. This data also showed anomalies in the sex determinant, amelogenin. Which we sequenced thereafter. It gave varied results that were mostly nonhuman. Furthermore, the lack of consistency with the results overall is not bad DNA but a result of recombination of two different species in one organism.. in other words,, some will have more human DNA than others while others more nonhuman. It’s like some mules look more donkey like and some more like a horse. A crude example.. Against he didn’t read the paper, muchess think it through.
    12. He said he wanted to see raw data. The sequences were furnished via the figures. The electropherograms are not usually put in papers but were available for any reviewer that wanted to see them. Guess he couldn’t understand that. Detailed sequences were also available in the supplemental data. But he obviously didn’t read the paper or look at the supplemental data or he would have known this.
    13. He made the remark that we did biased human testing because we were a forensic lab. This was funny since my CV is downloadable from my website and I clearly worked with animal and human DNA. Out of all of my published papers, only one was pertaining to human.
    14. If everything he said was true, there would have been a bunch of geneticists standing in line to write a paper doing a rebuttal of our findings, like with Sykes’ paper. There was a peer reviewed rebuttal of his findings published by a group at Cambridge within a couple of months after his publication. So far, the only attempt at a rebuttal for our paper came from a discredited physical chemist, not a geneticist, and of course was never published in any journal. I have written proof he had no idea what he was talking about. So, this anonymous guy isn’t any better. He claims to be a molecular biologist, but if so, why not say who he is and where he works? Why did he show a fundamental lack of knowledge on the types of testing we did and what genes are in the nuclear DNA? Most of all, he allegedly spent two weeks studying our paper in preparation for the interview, yet it was obvious he didn’t read it. Is he really that lazy? Or was it an intentional hit job? I’ll let the reader decide.

    I could go on for hours defending the science from this so called anonymous scientist, but I had to hit the high spots. No I will not go on a podcast. No I won’t even mention its name. It’s not worth it. I only wrote this for those who heard it and by the way, my findings have been repeated and validated more than once. Won’t all of the critics be surprised when I bring it all out at the right time.

    #188820
    Wolf
    Participant

    “Are scientists ever reluctant to accept something they don’t believe? that’s a rhetorical question.”

    … scientists are just regular folk like you and me, and as such are as individual in their mental maturity as you and me.

    Something that has solidified with each ensuing spin of this planet I have survived is the shock (and surprised acceptance) of the fact that ‘all the grownups’ (as our education system teaches us to think about authorities) are as varied in their intellectual abilities and personal psychological issues and egos as the very children who have been brainwashed into thinking the ‘experts’ are smarter, more informed, and better analysts for the shear fact of being (alleged) ‘experts’.

    My Old Man was a man of very few words, but he often lamented, “God save us from Experts!”

    #188821
    cyndie r
    Participant

    Thank you Pam for posting this. Clearly Wes’s guest came on the podcast to discredit Dr. Ketchum’s work. He is well spoken and able to break stuff down into layman’s terms. I do believe Wes thought it would be beneficial for his listeners. I’m not sure it was. I’m also not sure he was a government plant.

    God save the queen.

    #188831
    m99
    Moderator

    Well said knobby. T/Y.

    Pam, do you have the link to the fan page where Ms. Melba replied?

    #188832
    m99
    Moderator

    Thx for the link Jonathan. Pam posted the same thing above you. Probably at the same time! _ Whoops_ no she posted the article first. You posted the link…

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by m99.
    #188835
    Denise F
    Participant

    I was a bit surprised that ‘Dr. John’ found only negative points to talk about. I was wondering that if he had a sighting himself and was a listener, that he couldn’t find one thing that Dr. Ketchum did correctly…or find something interesting? That just stuck out to me for some reason.

    Peter said-
    “I am sorry, but there is no need for some deep government conspiracy to suppress the publication of her data – she has done that herself.”

    You’re a layman on some things.

    #188836
    Chris422🤠
    Participant

    To all the non layman:

    You know damn well that each individual lab is self-contained and responsible for its own work. That includes editorial review papers. The whole reason scientists use outside reputable labs is dependability. None of you can be that stupid.

    #188837
    Chris422🤠
    Participant

    Furthermore, I’m sure that’s why Melba sent it to these labs.

    #188843
    pam
    Participant

    sasquatchchronicles facebook fan page

    #188844
    pam
    Participant
    #188845
    Wolf
    Participant

    @Knobby can you merge this with the other thread?

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