Stem Cell Researcher Fabricated Evidence in Earlier Article
South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk fabricated evidence in all of his published articles on human cloning, but his work on dog cloning appears valid, according to the final report of an investigative committee at Seoul National University, the Los Angeles Times reports (Demick/Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 1/10).
The committee last month found no evidence that Hwang cloned cells from patients with a new, highly efficient technique, as he claimed in a June 2005 article published in the journal Science. However, the possibility remained that he "had gotten the cloning technique to work to some degree," as he claimed in a March 2004 article published in Science, the New York Times reports.
The latest report from the committee indicates that Hwang also fabricated evidence in the March 2004 article and has never cloned human embryonic stem cell lines (Wade/Sang-Hun, New York Times, 1/10).
Hwang created the stem cell line used in the research for the March 2004 article with a method other than cloning, the committee said. In addition, Hwang used more than 2,061 eggs from 129 women volunteers, although he had claimed to have used fewer than 500 eggs, according to the committee (Regalado/Yoon, Wall Street Journal, 1/10).
Chung Myung Hee, chair of the committee, said, "Hwang basically lied to the Korean people and scientific world," adding, "Hwang and those who participated in the fabrication of the paper should be severely punished" (Faiola/Weiss, Washington Post, 1/10).
South Korean prosecutors have barred travel outside the nation for Hwang and nine other scientists, and they plan to begin a separate investigation into the issue (Fairclough et al., Wall Street Journal, 1/11).
According to the New York Times, the results of the committee investigation raise the "question of how an important but fabricated result could survive unchallenged, in a presumably rigorous and competitive scientific field, for almost two years."
Benjamin Lewin, founder and former editor of the journal Cell, said that the process Science used to determine the validity of the evidence in the two articles appears "rather sloppy" (New York Times, 1/10).