by Steven Ertelt
January 11, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Following an investigation by his university that found his team faked all of its human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk apologized on Wednesday. However, he still claims someone sabotaged his research.
"I ask for your forgiveness," Hwang told a press conference carried on national television across the Asian nation. "I feel so miserable that it’s difficult even to say sorry."
"The use of fake data … is what I have to take full responsibility for as first author. I acknowledge all of that and apologize once again," Hwang said. "I sincerely apologize to the nation for using erroneous data in the papers."
Hwang was referring to two papers in the prestigious medical journal Science — one of which, on the production of the cloned embryonic stem cells, has already been revoked.
Still, Hwang alleged one of the members of his team switched non-cloned stem cells for the eleven lines he claims to have cloned. SNU says it found no proof Hwang’s team ever cloned the cells.
Hwang also admitted he paid "small amounts" of money to women who donated their eggs for research.
It was his first public appearance in three weeks. Hwang resigned from his position last month as a veterinary professor at Seoul national University. The college released its final report this week of its probe into Hwang’s team’s studies.
The university found that Hwang’s team did not successfully clone human embryos and did not clone embryonic stem cells that could overcome the huge problem of being rejection by a patient’s immune system.
SNU did find that Hwang’s team was able to clone a dog called Snuppy, an Afghan hound that is the first cloned dog in the world.
Hwang apologized last year for covering up the voluntary donations of human eggs made by two junior researchers. News reports have come out since indicating Hwang forced one of his female researchers to submit to a medical procedure to collect her eggs after she accidentally knocked over petrii dishes containing eggs for research.
The South Korean government has also started a criminal probe over allegations that he paid a researcher to go back on statements covering up the falsification of his team’s research and into whether or not Hwang’s team misspent government funds.