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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 11:41 GMT
New blow to S Korea clone work
Hwang Woo-suk
Dr Hwang has been hailed as a hero in South Korea
South Korea's disgraced human cloning scientist did not produce any stem cells tailored to individual patients as claimed, a panel has concluded.

A Seoul National University panel said it believed that Hwang Woo-suk never had the data he said he had.

Dr Hwang quit last week after the panel said some research was fabricated.

Correspondents say the finding is important as individually tailored stem cells were seen as a key to treating diseases like diabetes and Alzheimers.


The scientist maintains he has developed technology to produce such stem cells.

The panel said it would continue its investigation into other research by Dr Hwang, including the authenticity of a cloned Afghan hound which was claimed to be the world's first cloned dog.


The controversy caused shockwaves in South Korea, where the cloning pioneer was widely considered a national hero.

Feb 2004 Hwang Woo-suk's team declare they have created 30 cloned human embryos
May 2005 Team says it has made stem cell lines from skin cells of 11 people
Nov 2005 Hwang apologises for using eggs from his own researchers
Dec 15 A colleague claims stem cell research was faked
Dec 23 Academic panel finds results were 'intentionally fabricated'
Dec 29 Panel finds no data to back study

In May, Dr Hwang published a paper in the journal Science, saying his team had extracted material from cloned human embryos that identically matched the DNA of 11 patients.

It was claimed such a technique could be the key to providing personalised cures.

Last week, the panel concluded that the data on nine out of the 11 stem cell lines were fabricated.

The panel now says all the data of the stem cell line were false.

"It is the panel's judgement that Professor Hwang's team does not have the scientific data to prove that [patient-specific stem cells] were made," researcher Roe Jung-hye said.

Investigators say they were unable to find stem cells matching the DNA of patient tissues.

The panel found that the stem cells had come from a fertilized egg produced at a Seoul hospital, not by Dr Hwang's team.


The scientist came under pressure when one of the co-authors of his paper, Roh Sung-il, said that some of the pictures illustrating it, apparently showing the 11 patient-specific stem cell lines, had been faked.

Dr Hwang has admitted that the photographs did contain "mistakes", but insisted the research was accurate and that he had cloned 11 stem cell lines.

Scandal erupted around the doctor a month ago, when he was forced to step down as chairman of South Korea's World Stem Cell Hub, after admitting that eggs for research were donated by his own female colleagues, in breach of guidelines.

He was admitted to hospital earlier this month suffering from stress.

See Snupy the Afghan hound

S Korea cloning research was fake
23 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea stem cell success 'faked'
15 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea's 'disgraced' national hero
25 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea unveils first dog clone
03 Aug 05 |  Science/Nature
Stem cells tailored to patients
20 May 05 |  Health
Viewpoints: Human cloning
12 Feb 04 |  Health

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