BBC Removes False Embryonic Stem Cell Research Claims From Story

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

BBC Removes False Embryonic Stem Cell Research Claims From Story Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 2, 2006

London, England ( — Responding to a report calling it on the carpet, the BBC has removed mention of fraudulent embryonic stem cell research successes from a Thursday news story. The British broadcaster had listed two disproven "successes" in a timeline on stem cell research progress that accompanied a news article.

In a Thursday news story, the BBC included two bullet points in a sidebar graphic saying "South Korean scientists clone 30 human embryos and develop them over several days" in 2004 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. Both a South Korean university and the nation’s government launched probes that found the research was falsified.

On Friday, the BBC removed the notes from the sidebar graphic.

In an email in response to, a BBC web site editor wrote, "Our apologies for the errors, which have now been removed from the milestones list." also noted that the BBC article Thursday highlighted 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 covered the supposedly patient-specific stem cells and a second detailed the fake claims of cloning a human embryo. Both were written prior to the revelations that the research was falsified and no stories were listed covering the exposure of the faked research.

The BBC removed both news stories as related links and replaced them with a May 12 article concerning disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, the head of the South Korean research team. It concerns the South Korea government charging him with embezzlement in the misuse of public and private research funds.

The BBC also replaced a link 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 touted 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.

The BBC removed the link to the Q&A document and replaced it with another factsheet, also created in May 2005, that does not tout the disproven research.

However, the new factsheet includes links to the old news stories on the falsified studies and the disputed Q&A document.

ACTION: Contact the BBC and thank it for revising its related links and removing the false embryonic stem cell research information from its recent news story. You can send feedback via their web site at