S.Korea cell scientist faked results: collaborator
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s most renowned stem cell scientist fabricated key parts of a ground-breaking paper and is seeking to have the work withdrawn, a close collaborator told South Korean media on Thursday.
The daily newspaper Hankyoreh and three South Korean television networks quoted Roh Sung-il as saying that he, stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk and another co-author of the landmark 2005 Science paper on tailor-made stem cells had notified the journal that they were withdrawing the paper.
“Professor Hwang admitted to fabrication,” Roh said in an appearance on MBC television. Roh, a specialist in fertility studies, was referring to a meeting he had with Hwang earlier in the day.
Repeated attempts to reach Hwang and his other team members were not immediately successful.
Another television network, KBS, quoted Roh as saying: “I agreed with Hwang to ask for it (the paper) to be withdrawn.”
Roh told South Korean media that nine of the 11 stem cell lines that were part of the tailored stem study paper were fabricated and the authenticity of the other two lines was questionable.
Science, a leading academic journal, could not be reached for comment.
Hwang’s research team has dismissed previous reports questioning his research and said its work was vetted by a rigorous system of peer review prior to publication.
On Tuesday, a U.S. stem cell expert who lent his name and credibility to South Korean cloning pioneers asked that his name be removed from their landmark scientific paper.
Dr. Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh asked Science to take his name off a human cloning study published by Hwang and colleagues at Seoul National University.
Hwang is best known in scientific circles for cloning the first human embryos for research and the landmark study published earlier this year about developing tailored stem cells that could lead one day to cures for ailments such as severe spinal cord injuries. Hwang’s team also created the world’s first cloned dog.
Hwang has been at the center of a media storm since November 24 when he apologized for two junior women researchers donating their eggs for his work and for not releasing information about the incident promptly.
The international scientific community frowns on donations by researchers because of possible coercion.
Hwang is considered a hero in South Korea for bringing the country to the forefront of stem cell and cloning studies.