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Korean scientist tried to clone mammoths

And failed, if you're wondering

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Hwang Woo-Suk, the disgraced Korean stem cell scientist, diverted private donations towards efforts to clone tigers and even mammoths, a court heard yesterday.

The wannabe John Hammond said his team procured mammoth tissue from glaciers and tried three times to clone the hairy pachyderms – but failed. He also tried to clone tigers, he admitted.

The cash used for the mammoth cloning effort came from a 1bn Won grant from SK Group which was earmarked for "peripheral activities related to the research".

The admission came in the third hearing in his trial for misusing and embezzling state funds and donations and violating bioethics laws, according to Reuters. Hwang denies embezzlement, saying no funds were misdirected for personal use.

More mundane admissions by Hwang included using the names of junior team members to set up bank accounts, paying for housing for a junior scientist, paying for trips overseas, and paying for a scientist's wedding.

Yesterday, he said that while he had "cheated" he had been cheated too, with junior researchers leading him to think the team had made big breakthroughs. ®

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