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Revolutionary cloning breakthrough faked?

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posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 01:11 PM
Now, I don't know how many of you remeber all the fuss when a group around Hwang Woo-suk claimed (and at was believed also proved) that they for first time in history cloned human embryo (plus later they claimed they were able to clone dog for firs time). Scientists said it's revolution in genetics, that Hwang did something which they thought would require decades, some Americans complained that US bioresearch is loosing it's leading position in world and Congres and OSN enacted laws against human cloning.Hwang became Korean national hero of course. Now it looks like the whole research was faked.

However, Hwang's integrity as a researcher was again put in doubt when it was revealed that "PD Su-cheop" scheduled a follow-up report questioning his achievement published in Science in June 2005, which stated he had cloned 11 lines of embryonic stem cells. This caused furious backlash in the South Korean people, and the reaction only intensified when it was discovered that Kim Sun-jong, one of Hwang's researchers from MizMedi, was coerced by illegal means to testify against Hwang. As a result, the scheduled broadcast was canceled and the network even made a public apology to the nation, everyone more or less operating under the assumption that the show was at fault and not Hwang. Yet other news outlets began to question Hwang's claims

owever, close scrutiny revealed that several of the photos of purportedly different cells were in fact photos of the same cell. Hwang responded that these additional photos were accidentally included and that there was no such duplication in the original submission to Science. This was later confirmed by the journal, but what happened next would overshadow this event.

Researchers raised questions about striking similarities between the DNA profiles of the cloned cells. Then collaborator Gerald Schatten asked Science to remove his name from the paper, stating as a reason that there were "allegations from someone involved with the experiments that certain elements of the report may be fabricated".

Hwang Woo-Suk at a press conference in Seoul, November 24, 2005.

In the midst of national confusion, Hwang disappeared from public sight, to be hospitalized days later for alleged stress-related fatigue, while public opinion gradually began to turn against Hwang with even the major Korean companies who pulled their support from "PD Su-Cheop" reportedly now less than pleased with Hwang. Days later, Hwang started going to his laboratory while requesting Seoul National University to officially conduct a probe to the allegations surrounding him.
Official probe by Seoul National University An internal panel was formed in Seoul National University to investigate the allegation, and the probe was started on December 17, 2005. The panel sealed off Hwang's laboratory and conducted a thorough investigation, collecting testimonies from Hwang, Roh and other people that were involved with the scandal. On December 23, the panel announced its initial finding that Hwang had intentionally fabricated stem cell research results creating nine fake cell lines out of eleven, and added that the validity of two remaining cell lines is yet to be confirmed.

The panel stated that Hwang's misconduct is "a grave act damaging the foundation of science." Hwang's claim of having used only 185 eggs to create stem cell lines was also denied by the panel, which indicated that many more eggs may have been used in the research process. Hwang subsequently apologized for "creating a shock and a disappointment" and announced that he is resigning his position as professor at the university. However, Hwang maintained that patient-matched stem cell technology remains in South Korea, and his countrymen shall see it. Seoul National University said Hwang's resignation request will not be accepted, citing a university regulation which dictates an employee under investigation may not resign from a post.

Now I wonder how will this end. If the 2 remaining cells are proved to be faked it will be a great blow the scientific comunity. Hwang was not some obscure person who claims he can clone humans, he was scientist with good reputation and what's more interesting for a year whole world believed the humans can be cloned. 1222133014

posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 01:23 PM
What this researcher did was reprehensible.

Hwang was not some obscure person who claims he can clone humans, he was scientist with good reputation and what's more interesting for a year whole world believed the humans can be cloned.

For what its worth, thats a darned short time. A year? In order to verify any of the claims made in his paper, other researchers would have to

  1. Receive it via access to the journal is was printed in
  2. Read it
  3. Think about it
  4. Discuss it with fellow researchers, including Hwang himself
  5. Figure out if its something that they can verify by replicating
  6. Work out the experiment
  7. Get funding
  8. Finish the other projects that they are working on
  9. Publish their Results

Thats a pretty long list of things to do. A year is not a long time.

This outcome doesn't really affect the scientific community as a whole, there has allways been the strong possibility that some researchers are immoral and unscrupulous. Hwang ends up being one of them.

Reputation is very important in science, a scientist with a 'bad rep', people tend to ignore their papers, not trust their results at all, don't go to their presentations, etc.

posted on Dec, 23 2005 @ 01:57 PM
You are true Nygdan, but still there were many proclamations from various people (chiefly from religious sects or some strangers) that they were cloning humans and they were always viewed with great scepticism, many scientists even laughed at them. But this time whole scientific comunity and also many politicians actually believed this guy, and it was commonly accepted, that it's true and the human stern cell cloning is within reach. It's quite a shock, at least for me. Now it looks like it is again years(if not decades) away.

[edit on 23-12-2005 by longbow]

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