Korean Stem Cell Scientist Speaks Out
Researcher Reportedly Stands by His Controversial Study
Editor’s Note: In December 2005, a panel from South Korea’s Seoul
National University said it found no proof to support the scientists’ claims of
creating tailored stem cells.
Dec. 16, 2005 -- Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, DVM, PhD, is reportedly
standing by stem cell research he published earlier this year, despite charges
of false findings in that work.
At a televised news conference in South Korea, Hwang reportedly said that
tests will validate his stem cell work, and that he expected the test results
in 10 days.
Hwang's study was published in the June print edition of
According to the Science web site, on Dec. 16 the journal received
a request from Hwang and one of his co-authors, Gerald Schatten, PhD, to
withdraw the paper. Science says its policy is that all authors must
agree to a retraction; the journal says Hwang has given his assurances that he
will contact his co-authors.
The uproar about the study is prompting an investigation. Korea's Seoul
National University, where Hwang works, has pledged to investigate the study,
according to Science's web site.
The study claimed to have succeeded at creating
stem cells that match a patient's genetic material.
Korean news stations have aired allegations by one of Hwang's Korean
co-authors that several stem cell lines used in the study were faked. Reports
of those allegations are noted on the web site of another scientific journal,
In the Dec. 16 news conference, according to Reuters, Hwang said he and his
six research members had "no doubt" that they had made all of the stem
Hwang also reportedly said that the cells had been badly contaminated by a
fungus and that he planned to ask investigators to follow up on his suspicion
that those cells may have been tampered with or replaced. In addition, Hwang
reportedly said that a follow-up paper had been submitted to another
Hwang had been hospitalized for several days due to stress, according to
news reports in Science and the Associated Press.
Hwang, who has been considered a pioneer in cloning research, has lately
been under fire for other ethical breaches.