Stem Cell Research Scientist Admits Lying About Donated Eggs

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Stem Cell Research Scientist Admits Lying About Donated Eggs Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24, 2005

Seoul, South Korea ( — A leading embryonic stem cell research scientist admitted he lied about whether or not junior members of his research team contributed their own eggs for study. Hwang Woo-Suk publicly apologized today for misleading the world about unethical practices involved in his human cloning and stem cell research experiments.

"I am very sorry that I have to tell the public words that are too shameful and horrible," Hwang said. "I should be here reporting the successful results of our research, but I’m sorry instead to have to apologize."

"I regret that if I had told the truth then I wouldn’t have caused such concerns to the public now," Hwang said at a press conference. "I have learned a painful lesson that I should conduct research in a calm and cautious manner by living up to a global standard."

He said he previously told his staff not to donate their own eggs and that he found out about the donations after being contacted by the scientific publication Nature.

Hwang said he spoke to the two women researchers and one asked him not to divulge her donation to the public, so he lied about it to conceal what happened.

Hwang added that "the responsibility for all disputes and controversy lies on me."

He indicated that he would resign as the head of the international stem cell research hub he created last month. Already, several American stem cell research firms and scientists have pulled out from participating.

Despite the lies, Hwang, a veterinarian, said he would continue conducting his research.

Hwang was forced to admit he lied after Seoul National University and the South Korean government conducted inquiries to determine if the researchers donated their eggs. As reported yesterday, the Seoul-based MBC television channel disclosed medical records and testimony from witnesses that it said shows that human eggs included some given by at least one of Hwang’s junior researchers.

Hwang previously said the eggs were used but they came from outside donors.