Scientist Hwang May Have Lied About Stem Cell Research Results

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientist Hwang May Have Lied About Stem Cell Research Results Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 28, 2005

Seoul, South Korea ( — A Korean television station whose investigative report was the nail in the coffin that prompted human cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk to admit he lied about egg donations his researchers made says he may have lied about the results of his research as well.

Last year, Hwang’s team said it successfully cloned a human embryo from embryonic stem cells. The report came in the scientific journal Science, which also exposed the egg donation coverup.

However, Korean television station MBC has conducted interviews with an unnamed member of Hwang’s research team who says the cells were never cloned successfully. The researcher called the reports a "collection of falsehoods."

According to MBC, the scientist "maintains that Hwang’s team fabricated data because in reality it failed to clone a somatic cell and instead used a frozen embryo from the hospital to make stem cells."

The researcher also said Hwang’s team did not successfully clone a cow, as had been reported. Hwang’s team also claims to have successfully cloned a dog, the first time scientists have ever been able to do it.

A report in the Chosun Ilbo newspaper in Korea says MBC was able to win over members of Hwang’s team by claiming it was producing a documentary on stem cell research. The paper says the television station was able to use hidden cameras to dig up dirt on Hwang and his team members by talking to some scientists.

The MBC reporters eventually went to the University of Pittsburgh, the location of key Hwang partner Gerald Schatten, who renounced his participating with the Korean scientist after the egg donation cover-up was revealed.

After cloning a human embryo from a somatic cell, Hwang dispatched three team members to work with Schatten toward cloned monkey embryos last December. The inference is that if Hwang’s technology for cloning human embryos was fabricated, the monkey embryos cloned by Schatten’s team would also be a sham.