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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Notorious Korean Cloning Scientist Withdraws Paper because of Faked Evidence

Woo Suk Hwang, the South Korean cloning scientist who publicly admitted in late November to having obtained human egg cells unethically, has now also moved to have his initial paper withdrawn because many of the scientific achievements claimed within it are false.

Hwang has now admitted that the paper he co-authored had "fatal errors" in it, and that the prestigious journal Science should withdraw it. The cloning of human embryos is intended by such scientists to create embryos whose stem cells are genetically nearly identical to a prospective patient who presumably could use the stem cells as a kind of regenerative therapy. Even if the stem cells are not used as a therapy, they can be researched upon so as to increase knowledge of the cloning process so that future acts of cloning can result in therapies. Each cloned embryo, a distinct member of the human species, is killed in producing a stem cell line from it.

Hwang now admits that only eight stem cell lines existed when he submitted the article to Science, while the article claimed that 11 existed. Sung il Roh, the chairman of the board at Mizmedi Hospital where some of the cloned stem cell lines are supposed to have been stored, has stated that only two stem cell lines may have actually existed. Roh and scientists at his hospital are now planning to perform tests to determine if those two are also fake.

Roh, who was one of the co-authors of the paper in Science, has now also admitted that he was not even aware of the paper until it appeared in the journal. Roh justified the fact that he authored a paper he was not aware of by stating that "security concerns" demanded such secrecy even within the group of authors.

Princeton University moral philosopher and Culture of Life Foundation board member, Robert P. George, told Culture & Cosmos that while "it is true that all fields have their bad apples, what is worrisome" is that "from the very beginning there has been a widespread tendency amongst defenders of human cloning to engage in semantic sleights of hand." Hwang's repeated attempts to make his research look like something that it is not would only be more examples of such "semantic sleights of hand."

(This article courtesy of The Fact

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