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Prof. Hwang Admits Fabricating Stem Cell Study
Prof. Hwang Woo-Suk of Seoul National University

Roh Sung-il, chairman of the board at Mizmedi Hospital, who provided human eggs for research by cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk said on Dec. 15, 2005 that Hwang admitted that most of the stem cells produced for a key research paper were faked.

He also told KBS television that Hwang had agreed to ask the journal Science to withdraw the paper, published in June to international acclaim. Roh was one of the co-authors of the article that detailed how individual stem cell colonies were created for 11 patients through cloning

Embattled cloning scientist Hwang remained silent until late night on Dec. 10, 2005 amid reports that he fraudulently produced stem cells for his research published in the U.S. journal Science this year.

A close collaborator of Hwang Woo-suk told a local daily and three major TV networks earlier in the evening that Hwang admitted to having used fabricated stem cells in his thesis published in May.

The 52-year-old was reportedly talking with his associate SNU professor Lee Byeong-chun over what future steps he should take.

Hwang's wife emerged from his ward at about 8:40 p.m. but left the hospital without giving comment to waiting journalists.

Hwang became a national hero in 2004 in South Korea for his pioneering research, including the world's first cloning of human embryos and the extraction of stem cells from them.

In a study published in Science in May 2005, Hwang reported that he had cloned 11 human embryos and cultivated patient-specific stem cell lines from them.

The breakthroughs brightened hopes for the future discovery of treatments for such ailments as spinal cord injuries, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

But a scandal erupted over the ethics of his research late last month when a local broadcaster claimed that Hwang had used human eggs in his research that had been donated by two of his junior researchers.

The scandal intensified after the same TV station said it was producing an investigative program questioning the authenticity of Hwang's work.

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