Science cans stem cell paper

Further disgrace for Hwang Woo-suk

The journal Science yesterday announced it would take the highly unusual step of retracting a paper written by disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk and colleagues as the scandal surrounding Hwang's suspect study on tailored embryonic stem cells refuses to lie down.

According to Reuters, Science has got permission from everyone named on the May 2005 paper to retract the document. The journal said in a statement: "To ensure that the wording of the retraction reflects the final conclusions of the Seoul National University (SNU) investigation, Science will finalize the retraction text and proceed with the final steps of the retraction process only after the SNU investigation is completed next week.

"Science hopes this approach will yield a retraction that will convey accurately as much information as possible to the scientific community."

The said SNU investigation has already concluded that none of Hwang's work - as published in Science - could be proved, and is now deciding whether or not he succeeded in producing the world's first cloned dog in April 2005.

To add to Hwang's woes, MBC TV reported two days ago that he had allegedly "coerced" female colleagues into providing eggs for cloning research. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to those readers who wrote in to note that the "coercion" story actually broke back in November 2005, as our report into the matter indeed proves.

The allegations predate that by two years but were picked up by Nature and quickly provoked Hwang's exit as Chairman of the World Stem Cell Hub. However, the Seoul University Ethics panel stated that there was "no illegality or ethic breach" in Hwang's actions.

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