More questions surrounding South Korean researcher's work

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 23, 2006

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What began as a relatively minor scrape over rumors that South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-Suk, PhD, used egg cells donated by junior lab scientists and women who were paid as much as $1,400 has mushroomed into a major case of scientific fraud.

Dr. Hwang's May 2005 paper in Science was hailed as the world's first successful colony of stem cells developed from a cloned embryo. But in December 2005, a nine-member Seoul National University panel reported that all of the 11 stem cell lines discussed in the paper were faked. The stem cells were not cloned, but obtained from fertilized embryos.

Dr. Hwang's team fooled the world by merely splitting cells from one patient into two test tubes to make the DNA match, the panel said. Dr. Hwang claims his work has been sabotaged.

The panel is now turning its attention to a 2004 paper in which Dr. Hwang claimed to have cloned the world's first embryo. Also, Nature announced that it is reviewing an August 2005 paper in which Dr. Hwang unveiled the world's first dog clone, Snuppy.

Dr. Hwang has resigned from his post at Seoul National University and was stripped of the honorary title of South Korea's "No. 1 supreme scientist," according to The Korea Times.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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