by Steven Ertelt
November 28, 2005
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — A close associate of embattled human cloning researcher Hwang Woo-suk will take over from him as the director of his international embryonic stem cell research bank after Hwang admitted to lying about egg donations made by his junior researchers.
Seoul National University (SNU), which houses the stem cell hub said Monday it will select an acting president for the facility that wants to provide access to embryonic stem cells to global researchers.
"We will decide who will take the reins of the stem cell bank for the time being early next month after our main scientists return home,’’ an official at the stem cell hub told the Korean Times newspaper.
Observers say SNU will likely choose between Hwang Ahn Cu-rie and Yim Gung-gi, both SNU professors who are close to Hwang Woo-suk. Both are currently on overseas trips and the Times reports they are both expected to return to Korea soon.
The university had considered creating a committee including researchers and bioethicists to run the stem cell bank but abandoned that idea for unknown reasons.
Meanwhile, the Korean government has offered special benefits to members of Hwang’s research team. All those working for him have been allowed to fulfill their obligatory military service duties by working at Hwang’s lab.