Science Will Withdraw Hwang’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Paper

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Science Will Withdraw Hwang’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Paper Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 30, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The medical journal Science has said it will withdraw the May 2005 paper submitted by Hwang Woo-suk’s research team claiming it had created patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would overcome rejection issues preventing it from curing patients.

The decision came after an investigative panel of scientists at Seoul National University, where Hwang’s team is based, said all of the 11 patient-specific embryonic stem cell lines Hwang’s team supposedly created were fake.

“We were already worried about the 2004 paper, and this doesn’t make us any less worried,” said Katrina Kelner, an editor at Science, who said the 2005 paper would be retracted.

In its first paper, in 2004, Hwang’s team claimed to have cloned human embryos. SNU is looking into that aspect of Hwang’s research as well and that paper could be withdrawn as well if the research is proven fraudulent.

Officials at Science said Thursday that it asked all 25 authors of Hwang’s paper to agree to a retraction by Friday.

If the authors fail to comply, the journal’s editorial board with withdraw the paper unilaterally as early as Saturday, editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy said in a statement.

Kennedy said Science has asked SNU officials to provide the journal with an update on its investigation but he explained that the editorial board has seen enough to warrant withdrawing the falsified paper.

The magazine is also looking into the claims in the 2004 paper.