Page URL:

Hwang to resume animal cloning research

3 July 2006
Appeared in BioNews 365

South Korean stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang, currently facing charges of fraud and embezzlement, is set to resume animal cloning research as early as next month. Hwang, who could spend up to 10 years in prison if convicted, is going to set up a new laboratory in Seoul, according to his lawyer Geon Haeng Lee. Thirty of his former assistants will join him in his new venture, which will be funded by private donors, since Hwang is forbidden from receiving any more public money.

Speaking last week, Lee said that Hwang feels that 'the only way to win people's forgiveness and reclaim his honour is to resume research and show accomplishments'. Hwang went on trial earlier this month, charged with accepting two billion won (about $2.1 million) in private donations based on his research into human embryonic stem cells (ES cells), which later turned out to be falsified, as well as embezzling at least 800 million won from government grants of an estimated 37 billion won. Five of Hwang's colleagues have also been charged in relation to the scandal.

In 2004, Hwang's team announced the creation of the world's first cloned human ES cell-line and, in 2005, reported, in the journal Science, the derivation of a further 11 cell-lines from 31 cloned embryos, using just 185 eggs. Both achievements were later discovered to have been faked. However, Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog - unveiled by the team in August 2005 - is thought to be a genuine clone, following an investigation lead by the journal Nature last year.

Hwang has admitted to inflating data for his research claims, but is adamant that he does have the technology to create human ES cell-lines. He is now expected to focus on animal cloning experiments, as he no longer holds a licence for human embryo research. 'By law, Hwang won't be able to start such research again', Kim Young-Ho, a South Korean Health Ministry official told the Washington Post. Other medical researchers point out that following the fraud scandal, it will be virtually impossible for Hwang to publish any research in a major scientific journal ever again.

Disgraced cloning expert to resume research
New Scientist |  28 June 2006
Disgraced Scientist to Resume Research
The Washington Post |  27 June 2006
Disgraced South Korean scientist heads back to lab
Reuters |  27 June 2006
3 May 2009 - by Heidi Colleran 
South Korea's Presidential Committee on Bioethics has granted the first human embryonic stem (ES) cell research licence since their preeminent research scientist fell spectacularly from grace amidst allegations of scientific fraud and embezzlement, over three years ago. Cha Medical Center in the South Korean capital, Seoul, has...
17 April 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The journal Cloning and Stem Cells has announced on its website that it has pulled a scientific research paper from publication, pending the outcome of an investigation into the research data's accuracy. The research was submitted by a team of researchers at Seoul National University (SNU) led...
4 December 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
Science, the journal which published fraudulent stem cell research by disgraced Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, has announced the results of a committee set up to review the editorial procedures that allowed the work to be published and to advise on how to avoid similar mistakes in...
20 August 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
Hwang Woo-Suk, the Korean scientist at the centre of the faked cloning scandal last year, has returned to the lab and resumed his research on animals. Hwang, who was sacked from his position at Seoul National University following the scandal, is thought to have secured private funding...
18 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
South Korean stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang has been formally prosecuted on charges of fraud and embezzlement - if convicted he could spend up to 10 years in prison. He was charged with accepting two billion won (about $2.1 million) in private donations based on his...
30 April 2006 - by BioNews 
The World Stem Cell Hub - set up last year at Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea - is the latest victim of the ongoing Korean stem cell and cloning saga. The hub, which was established to create 'a global network' of stem cell lines created in countries across the world...
27 March 2006 - by BioNews 
Seoul National University (SNU) has announced it will dismiss the discredited South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, for his involvement in fabricating data during his work on human embryonic stem (ES) cells. Six other professors and co-authors on two Science papers published by the group - now formally retracted - will not...
12 January 2006 - by BioNews 
The panel investigating the work of South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang has reported that further research published by his team was faked. The scientists, based at Seoul National University (SNU), claimed in 2004 that they had created the world's first embryonic stem (ES) cell line from a cloned human...
9 January 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
For those aiming to develop new, stem-cell based therapies for conditions such as spinal cord injury and diabetes, 2005 will be remembered as the year in which hopes were first raised beyond everyone's expectations - only to be dashed, when apparently groundbreaking research was revealed to be an audacious hoax. The...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.