Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/23/hwang_disgraced/

Korean stem cell pioneer walks plank

'Intentionally fabricated' study results

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 23rd December 2005 13:09 GMT

Korean stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-suk quit today amid concerns that he may have "intentionally fabricated" results in a 2005 paper on producing tailored embryonic stem cells, Reuters reports.

A panel from Seoul National University has probed claims by former colleagues that "key findings in their paper were false", and Roe Jung-hye, the chief of Seoul National University's research office told a press conference: "Based on these findings, the data in 2005 was intentionally fabricated, not an accidental error. It is difficult for Professor Hwang not to avoid taking major responsibility."

The disgraced Hwang said: "I am stepping down as a professor at Seoul National University to apologize for causing such big shocks and disappointment. But I'd like to repeat patient-tailored embryonic stem cells are South Korean technology. All of you will confirm it."

The investigation panel will now examine Hwang's claim to have produced the world's first cloned dog, as well as a "2004 academic paper on cloning the first human embryos for research".

Reuters lists the panel's main findings as:

Reaction from the scientific world has been predictable and swift. Laurie Zoloth, a specialist in bioethics for Northwestern University, told Reuters: "It is a heartbreaking turn for science and Korea. Without trust, we just cannot imagine science. This is utterly unacceptable." ®