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South Korean wolf clones declared genuine

9 May 2007
Appeared in BioNews 406

The cloned grey wolves created by scientists at Seoul National University (SNU) are genuine, independent tests have shown. Questions over the animals were raised following the withdrawal of the scientific paper describing the achievement from the journal Cloning and Stem Cells. SNU launched an investigation of the work after it emerged that incorrect data had been included in the publication.

The SNU team had once been led by disgraced South Korean researcher Woo Suk Hwang, who was listed as an author on the wolf cloning paper. Hwang faked significant parts of his research, upon which he based two publications in top scientific journals, announcing his success in deriving the world's first human embryonic stem cell lines from cloned human embryos.

But according to Kuk Yang, chief of SNU's office of research affairs, the irregularities in the wolf study were down to an honest mistake, and not an attempt at fraud. 'We concluded the team did not need or intend to inflate the success rate', he said, adding that the errors were confined to one table, and that the team had asked to correct its data once they realised the mistake.

Lead author Lee Byeong-chun was a member of the team that successfully cloned the first dog, SNUppy, which was later verified as a true clone by SNU and other authorities. Last month, the scientists publicly announced they had cloned two female wolves, SNUwolf and SNUwolfy, in October 2005. Since then, six more wolf clones have been born, three of which have died.

The Korean grey wolf is an endangered species, and cloning is thought to be one way in which the animals can be saved from extinction. Other endangered species successfully cloned include the gaur (a species of wild ox), the mouflon, an endangered wild sheep, and more recently the banteng (a rare Javanese cattle) and an African wildcat.

Probe clears S Korea wolf cloners
BBC News Online |  30 April 2007
Wolf Clones Real, Errors "Unintentional," Review Finds
The National Geographic |  30 April 2007
27 September 2010 - by Dr Jay Stone 
Questions continue to be asked after Dr Savio Woo, a gene therapist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, was forced to retract two more of his papers last week. Dr Woo has retracted six papers this year after two of his post-docs, Li Chen and Zhiyu Li, were accused of scientific misconduct....
1 September 2009 - by Nishat Hyder 
Disgraced scientist, Hwang Woo-suk found last Monday that he faces a possible four year jail term for alleged embezzlement, and the violation of Korean bioethics law....
27 May 2008 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
US company BioArts International has teamed up with disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk to offer dog cloning services to the public. Five dog owners will be given the opportunity to have their pet cloned in a worldwide auction on 18 June this year, where bidding will...
6 August 2007 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The disgraced South Korean stem cell scientist, Woo Suk Hwang, whose spectacular fall from grace dominated the newspaper headlines early last year, has been credited with 'accidentally' creating the world's fisrt stem cells produced from an unfertilised human egg. An international collaboration of scientists last week published...
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...
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