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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 17:49 GMT
Professor faked anti-ageing data
By Neil Bowdler
BBC News

Old man sitting on a bench (file photo)
Those who want to delay the aging process must look elsewhere
A South Korean professor has admitted that he forged data on anti-ageing technology which was published in international science journals.

Kim Tae-kook has agreed to retract two papers he wrote, after his university discovered that he fabricated evidence.

The professor claimed he had found out how to extend the lifespan of mammalian cells, using a technology dubbed MAGIC, or magnetism-based interactive capture.

He has been suspended from teaching and further research.

The claims were made in the journals Science and Nature Chemical Biology in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

The technology, the professor wrote, worked by introducing a synthesised molecule, which blocked the machinery within cells which senses damage and triggers their natural demise.

But the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, where Professor Kim worked as a biotechnology expert, now says he fabricated evidence - and that the magic anti-ageing agent that he had claimed to have created had already been developed by Harvard University in the United States.

Concerns over research

This is not the first time research by South Korean scientists has turned out to be bogus.

Professor Hwang Woo-Suk of Seoul National University famously and fraudulently claimed in two papers in the journal Science (in 2004 and 2005) that he had succeeded in extracting stem cells from cloned human embryos.

Yet it's not just in South Korea that there are concerns over the authenticity of some scientific research.

Last year, the then-government Chief Scientist in Britain, Sir David King, called for a code of ethics to be set up for scientists, by which they would swear among other things to present evidence honestly, and not to mislead.

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