Thursday, December 15, 2005

In the news: Stem cell researcher's pants on fire?

From the NYT:

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 15 - Hwang Woo Suk, the scientist who stunned the world by announcing breakthroughs in stem cell and cloning research, faked a landmark research paper, one of his South Korean co-authors said today in television and newspaper interviews. Dr. Hwang and his aides, who had vehemently defended the paper published in the journal Science in June, were not immediately available for comment on the assertion by Roh Sung Il, , one of Dr. Hwang's 24 co-authors for the June paper, that the scientific finding was falsified.

Mr. Roh, the administrator of MizMedi Hospital in Seoul, told the South Korean daily Hankyoreh that there were no authentically created stem cells presented for the Science paper, according to an article on the newspaper's Web site this evening. In an interview broadcast on MBC television, Mr. Roh said Dr. Hwang appeared to have created stem cell lines that were later destroyed because of a virus infection. Dr. Hwang took stem cell lines from Mr. Roh's laboratory that had nothing to do with Dr. Hwang's research and presented them for the Science paper, Mr. Roh said. He said that nine of the 11 stem cell lines in the study were faked and that the other two were dubious.

In the June paper, Dr. Hwang's team reported that it had cloned human embryos and extracted the 11 stem cell lines, which Dr. Hwang said matched the DNA of patients. That result seemed a major breakthrough because it raised hopes that scientists might one day help patients suffering from illnesses like Parkinson's disease or diabetes grow their own replacement cells to cure their ailments.

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1 comment:

Beth said...

The sad thing is that the reviewers for Science or Nature- whichever journal it was published in didn't catch some of the stuff. For example they would change the scale of the y-axis to make things look different when they weren't- what type of reviewer- or anyone reading a paper doesn't check the axis. Science and Nature are becoming too much "sexy" science instead of solid science.