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Tearful Hwang Woo-suk apologises

Will spend life undoing stem cell 'wrongdoing'

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Stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk apologised today for the "wrongdoing" which has seen the once-hailed scientist reduced to a state of total disgrace, Reuters reports.

Hwang told a press conference: "I take full responsibility for the papers and offer you my apology. My life will be spent undoing my wrongdoing. I can't ever repay the debt fully until I die. We've gone crazy, crazy about work and I've been blinded."

Hwang's wrongdoing includes fabricating data regarding the production of tailored stem cells and "coercing" female colleagues into providing eggs for stem cell research. He resigned his post at Seoul National University last December after it was revealed that key findings in a stem call paper published in Science could not be proven.

Hwang is now under investigation for misuse of state funds. Local media reports that police today raided his home and offices as part of the execution of 26 search warrants for "places related to the research led by Hwang's team".

Hwang is, though, still convinced he has a future in science. He told the press conference he had "submitted a paper on a new breakthrough, using a pig to develop human stem cells", claiming this was an even greater achievement than producing Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog. But while the investigation panel confirmed that Snuppy was indeed cloned, Hwang's assertion that he could produce tailored stem cells - given human eggs and six more months - seems likely to remain just that.

As the Catholic University in Seoul's medical school professor, Oh Il-hwan, put it: "Up until now, nothing has been scientifically proven of his work in his stem cell studies. I do not think there are any more reasons to trust him." ®

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