Relaymedia

South Korean Cloning Expert Resigns After Investigation of Stem Cells

South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk resigned after his university announced on Friday that he had fabricated results in his stem-cell research.
( [email protected] ) Dec 25, 2005 02:39 AM EST

South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk resigned after his university announced on Friday that he had fabricated results in his stem-cell research.

A panel of Seoul National University experts examined the DNA of the stem cells in question and said that Hwang fabricated results of at least nine of the 11 stem cell lines he claimed to have created in the May article of the journal Science.

The claims of patient-matched stem cells were seen by scientists worldwide as a key step to creating tailored treatments for diseases, such as paralysis or diabetes, and since Hwang claimed to have achieved this breakthrough he was hailed as one of the top scientists in South Korea.

Hwang acknowledged the findings and said, "I sincerely apologize to the people for creating a shock and disappointment. With an apologetic heart ... I step down as professor."

However, Hwang still maintained that he had produced the technology to create patient-matched stem cells as he claimed in the May article.

Hwang said, "I emphasize that patient-specific stem cells belong to South Korea and you are going to see this."

The panel said DNA tests on the two remaining stem cells will be released within a few days, which will show whether they were successfully cloned from a patient.

Meanwhile, Christian conservatives have consistently disagreed with Hwang's research on embryonic stem cells and human cloning, saying that there is an alternative instead of discarding embryos that they believe are equivalent to a human life, which is adult stem cells.

For instance, adult stem cells can be harvested from adults and patients without harming them, whereas embryonic stem cells are discarded after being tested on.


The investigation will continue, the panel said, on other landmark papers that Hwang researched -- which include another Science article in 2004 on the world's first cloned human embryos, and an August 2005 paper in the journal Nature on the first-ever cloned dog -- an Afghan hound named Snuppy.