Seoul National University Confirms Embryonic Stem Cell Research Faked

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Seoul National University Confirms Embryonic Stem Cell Research Faked Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 15, 2005

Seoul, South Korea ( — A Seoul National University professor who was expected to lead an inquiry into whether Hwang Woo-suk’s research team faked a major embryonic stem cell research experiment has admitted the entire study is false.

Professor Lee Wang-jae confirmed the Thursday admission by Hwang research team member Roh Sung-il, a co-author of the paper, that the 11 claimed patient-specific embryonic stem cell lines were falsified.

"We already learned there are no embryonic stem cells and Prof. Ahn Cu-rie [Hwang’s associate] also knows it. We can declare today as a day of national infamy,’’ Lee said, according to the Korean Times.
Korean television station MBC quoted Ahn as saying that Hwang established six patient-specific stem cells last year, but all of them died last December and couldn’t be restored. The paper Hwang’s team submitted to the medical journal Science was published in May.

Roh told another South Korean television network, KBS, that nine of the eleven stem cell batches were faked and the authenticity of the other two is questionable.

According to the Korean Times, Hwang’s top associate, Prof. Lee Byeong-chun is reportedly attempting to thaw the two frozen embryonic stem cell lines to prove they came from a cloned human embryo.

Hwang has been hospitalized at SNU because of stress and the Yonhap news agency reported that he would not speak with reporters late Thursday night local time. He was reportedly taking with Lee about what to do next.

Hwang’s wife left the hospital Thursday night and she, too, would not speak with reporters.