Experts Confirm SNU Analysis: Hwang’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Faked

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 1, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Experts Confirm SNU Analysis: Hwang’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Faked Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 1, 2006

Seoul, South Korea ( — A group of experts has confirmed the findings of Seoul National University, which said in January that all of the embryonic stem cell research conducted by disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk and his research team was falsified.

The experts determined that the stem cells Hwang’s team supposedly cloned were not cloned at all.

Hwang’s research team claimed to have cloned a human embryo and to have cloned patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would overcome immune system rejection issues — a major hurdle preventing embryonic stem cell research from treating patients.

SNU determined both claims were false and the experts agreed.

Professors from three research universities and the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. examined the stem cells in question and determined that that were reproduced with a non-cloning method of reproduction.

Though Hwang’s team claimed to have somatic cell nuclei transfer, or cloning, to create the cells, the experts agreed with SNU analysis that they were actually created by parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction where the ovum develops into an embryo without fertilization.

According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, SNU, in a press release issued on Monday, said the experts confirmed its contention that the supposedly patient-specific cells were never manufactured.

Hwang had claimed SNU researcher were wrong in saying his team never cloned stem cells.

“We believe in the importance of elimination to stop the practice of misleading the public by distorting scientific facts,” SNU officials said about the need for the experts to confirm its analysis.

Prof. Chung Jae-hoon of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Prof. Lee Jung-bin of SNU College of Medicine, Prof. Lee Yong-seong of Hanyang University, and Dr. Hahn Yoon-soo of the U.S. National Cancer Institute carried out the examination of SNU’s analysis.

The confirmation is another blow to embryonic stem cell research — which has yet to successfully treat animals with embryonic stem cells, yet alone come up with treatments for humans.

On the other hand, adult stem cell research has already produced dozens of treatments and cures for people without the destruction of human life.