BBC Cites Fraudulent Embryonic Stem Cell Research as True in News Story

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

BBC Cites Fraudulent Embryonic Stem Cell Research as True in News Story Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 1, 2006

London, England ( — Though the embryonic stem cell research conducted by the South Korean team of scientists led by Hwang Woo-suk was falsified and has been repeatedly disclaimed, the BBC continues to highlight it in news stories and links on its web site.

In an article today about three members of Congress bashing the U.S. for not funding embryonic stem cell research, the BBC includes a sidebar graphic detailing advances in stem cell research over the years.

The last two bullet points include a 2004 notation saying "South Korean scientists clone 30 human embryos and develop them over several days" and a 2005 note claiming "Korean team develops stem cells tailored to match individual patients."

Both claims are false and the scientific journal Nature, which printed articles on both topics, has revoked the papers because the research was completely faked.

In addition, investigations by the South Korean government, Seoul National University, and an independent team of scientists, all concluded that the South Korean team never cloned human embryos and never made patient-specific embryonic stem cells. emailed the BBC for comment about the erroneous sidebar but has not received a response.

The BBC also highlights old news articles with the erroneous research claims in a list of related news articles.

Under a list of related topics, the first BBC story listed covers the supposedly patient-specific stem cells and a second details the fake claims of cloning a human embryo. Both were written prior to the revelations that the research was falsified and no stories are listed covering the exposure of the faked research.

The BBC also links to a Q&A document it produced on "cloned human embryos."

Created in May 2005, before the South Korean scandal over the fake research erupted, it goes on at length to tout the falsified research. It also claims the women who donated their eggs for the South Korean research consenting in doing so, even though they are in the middle of a lawsuit saying otherwise.

ACTION: Contact the BBC and urge it to revise its news stories and related links to accurately cover the falsification of embryonic stem cell research advances. You can send feedback via their web site at