Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Thursday, December 15, 2005

South Korean stem cell "breakthrough"

The wheels are coming off:
A growing number of scientists say independent testing is needed to resolve charges that South Korean researchers fabricated experimental findings in two landmark papers on stem cells derived from cloned human embryos.

A group of eight leading researchers, led by Ian Wilmut, the Scottish biologist who cloned Dolly the sheep eight years ago, is urging Woo-Suk Hwang and his cloning team to submit samples of the embryonic stem cell lines and of the cell donors for genetic analysis.
I've posted previously about the issues involved, but at this point I'd have no faith in this report, and very little in previous work from the group.

If you were accused of a crime and were innocent wouldn't you be eager to give DNA that could clear you? If the work is good, why would Hwang et al. not agree to independent verification?

UPDATE: The wheels are all the way off:
A doctor who provided human eggs for research by cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk said in a broadcast Thursday that the South Korean scientist agreed to withdraw a key research paper because most of the stem cells produced for the article were faked.

Roh Sung-il, chairman of the board at Mizmedi Hospital, 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.
Remeber, you heard it here first!

Seriuosly, I always wonder why people fake these kind of high profile breakthroughs. You know others will try to replicate it and fail. Better to fake data in some obscure area that no one will ever care about or try to replicate. Of course even better to just do the actual work to start.

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