Faked Finds: Human stem cell work is discredited

DNA evidence indicates that South Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang fabricated data in studies purporting to show that he had cloned human embryos and derived stem cells from them, Seoul National University investigators say. A March 12, 2004 Science paper vaulted Hwang to fame, but the DNA in stem cells remaining from that experiment doesn’t match that from the embryonic cells shown in the report, indicating that the results were faked. The university investigators also discredited a related article published in the June 17, 2005 Science.

Last month, Hwang offered to retract the two papers (SN: 12/24&31/05, p. 406: Stem Cell Controversy: Scientist is retracting landmark finding). An Aug. 4, 2005 Nature paper, in which Hwang’s team claimed to have cloned a dog (SN: 8/6/05, p. 83: Double Dog: Researchers produce first cloned canine), is legitimate, the university investigators say.

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