Skip to comments.Seoul University Probes Stem Cell Research (Hwang Woo Suk)
Posted on 12/18/2005 12:48:26 PM PST by NormsRevenge
SEOUL, South Korea - A panel questioned stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, sealed off his office and secured materials in his laboratory Sunday as it began a probe of allegations he falsified embryonic stem cells that he said he had created in a scientific breakthrough.
Seoul National University began the investigation after Hwang acknowledged there were "fatal errors" in a May article in the journal Science claiming that he and other researchers cloned human embryos and created 11 stem cell lines that genetically matched certain patients.
Scientists hope to use such "therapeutic cloning" someday to create tissue for transplant into people with illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Hwang said Friday he had asked Science to withdraw the paper.
The university where Hwang works said in a statement Sunday that it also was questioning his fellow researchers and reviewing their materials.
Hwang's research made him a national hero in South Korea and spurred thousands of people to volunteer skin cells to help him launch a global center to grow embryonic stem cells for research.
Hwang acknowledged the faults in his work a day after co-author Roh Sung-il said Thursday that Hwang had pressured another scientist to fake data for the report. Roh alleged nine of the 11 cell lines were faked and the authenticity of the other two was unknown.
In a nationally televised news conference, Hwang said only eight stem cell lines existed when he submitted the paper for review but his team later created three more. He insisted tests on his stem cell lines will prove his team "has the source technology to produce them."
Hwang claimed some of the stem cell colonies his team created have been replaced by those created by Roh's hospital and called for an investigation. Roh said Hwang was trying to deflect the controversy onto a former colleague who works at the hospital.
Hwang's team had told Science that multiple photos of the same stem cell lines were accidentally submitted as separate colonies, a mistake the editors have said did not affect the findings.
Hwang's list of achievements includes the world's first cloned human embryos and the world's first cloned dog, the Afghan hound Snuppy.
Last month, he admitted he used eggs from two female scientists in his lab, in violation of ethics guidelines. He then stepped down as head of his research center, the World Stem Cell Hub.
After that revelation, many South Koreans rallied behind Hwang. Hundreds of women volunteered to donate eggs for the research and some of his supporters threatened a TV show that was reporting on the controversy.
A magazine featuring South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk (R) and Roh Sung-il, a collaborator of Hwang, on its cover sits on display at a book store in Seoul December 18, 2005. Hwang, whose work is under intense scrutiny, hit back at his accusers on Friday, saying he had proof his team had made patient-tailored stem cells this year and he would produce the evidence soon. REUTERS/You Sung-Ho
South Korea's stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk attends a news conference at the Seoul National University in Seoul December 16, 2005. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
Roh Sung-il, chairman of the board at Mizmedi Hospital and a co-author of the article, wipes tears during his press conference in Seoul, Friday, Dec. 16, 2005. Roh repeated his accusations that South Korean stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-suk had pressured a lab worker to forge evidence.(AP Photo/Yonhap, Seong Yeon-jae)
A South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, left, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, look at Snuppy, the first successfully cloned dog, after press conference at the Seoul National University in a file photo from Aug. 3, 2005. If South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk falls from grace, he'll take U.S. stem cell researcher Gerald Schatten with him. In May, Schatten had the honor of serving as 'senior author' on Hwang's groundbreaking cloning report. That honor has now turned into a curse for the University of Pittsburgh researcher and his already checkered scientific reputation, his involvement with Hwang is not his first brush with scientific controversy. School officials say he's likely to be formally reprimanded once an internal school investigation is concluded. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)
South Korean protesters from the Raelian movement, a cult that believes life on Earth was engineered by visitors from outer space, carry paper-made lotus flowers symbolizing human eggs at a rally supporting South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk in front of the World Stem Cell Hub in Seoul December 18, 2005. A south Korean scientist whose work is under intense scrutiny hit back at his accusers on Friday, saying he had proof his team had made patient-tailored stem cells this year and he would produce the evidence soon. The slogans on the picket read, 'Please join a campaign for human egg donation (L)' and 'Raelian movement support the cloning of embryo.' KOREA OUT NO ARCHIVE NO RESALE REUTERS/Lee Jong-Chul/Hankook Ilbo
I am realy having a difficult time; everytime I see that name, Hwang Woo Suk, I bust out laughing. It just sounds...interesting.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.