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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 07:42 GMT
Korea cloning expert questioned
Hwang Woo-suk apologises to the nation, 12 Jan
Dr Hwang has apologised for fabrications in his work
Disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk has been questioned by South Korean authorities for the first time since admitting his research was faked.

A spokesman for South Korea's state auditors said Dr Hwang was questioned over potential misuse of public funds.

Dr Hwang and his team received more than $40m for his work with stem cells, in the hope that his landmark research would help cure a range of diseases.

Dr Hwang has already apologised for flaws in his research.

However, the scientist has insisted that most of the fabrications were carried out without his knowledge, by collaborators on the project.

Dr Hwang was being questioned at Seoul National University, where he was a professor.

"An investigation is under way into the appropriateness of Hwang's use of the money," said an official at the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI), according to the Yonhap news agency.

SCANDAL TIMELINE
Feb 2004 Hwang Woo-suk's team declare they have created 30 cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells
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
15 Dec 2005 A colleague claims stem cell research was faked
23 Dec 2005 Academic panel finds results of May 2005 research were fabricated
10 Jan 2006 Panel finds 2004 work was also faked

Any evidence of financial wrongdoing would be passed on to prosecutors who are conducting a separate investigation into the case, a BAI spokesman told the AFP agency.

Dr Hwang and his team could include charges of fraud and embezzlement if he is found to have faked his research to ensure its funding.

A final report on the scandal from experts at Seoul National University, published earlier this month, said that Dr Hwang had faked both his most famous research papers.

A final report from experts at Seoul National University, published earlier this month, said that Dr Hwang had faked his most famous work, the production of a stem cell line taken from cloned embryos.

The panel had previously rejected another of his landmark claims - to have produced individually tailored stem cells.

But it did conclude that Dr Hwang produced the world's first cloned dog, an Afghan hound called Snuppy.




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