The story appears on

Page A11

August 25, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Prosecutors seek jail for fake-clone researcher

PROSECUTORS yesterday demanded a four-year prison term for a South Korean scientist disgraced in a cloning scandal that shook the international scientific community and led to his trial on fraud and other charges.

Hwang Woo-suk was fired from prestigious Seoul National University after purported breakthroughs, including the claim of producing a human embryo through cloning and recovering stem cells from it, were deemed bogus in 2005, when a paper was found to contain fake data.

Once hailed as a national hero, Hwang is accused of accepting funds under false pretenses, embezzling and illegally buying human eggs for his research.

Prosecutors sought the four-year prison term during a hearing in Seoul Central District Court.

Hwang was present in the packed courtroom, and supporters greeted his entrance with applause.

"People's expectations for his stem-cell research had been high," an unidentified prosecutor told the court.

He said prosecutors saw the case as a chance to "resolve chronic research fraud in the academic field."

The court will rule on his guilt or innocence and decide a sentence at a later date.

Hwang had been the only South Korean scientist allowed to carry out research into stem cells that researchers say could lead to revolutionary cures for hard-to-treat diseases such as Alzheimer's.

But the government stripped him of his license in 2006, citing his "ethical problems."

That case scandalized the international scientific community and caused soul-searching in South Korea.

Hwang and his former colleagues at Seoul National University claimed in 2004 to have produced a human embryo through cloning and to have recovered stem cells from it.

A year later, Hwang said the team created human embryonic stem cells genetically matched to specific patients - a purported breakthrough that promised a way to withstand rejection by a patient's immune system.

But a university committee later declared the 2005 paper a fraud based on faked data, and cast doubt on his 2004 findings as well.

Hwang publicly apologized for faking data in the papers but claimed he was deceived by a fellow researcher.

Though most of his research was found to be fake, Hwang and his team successfully created the world's first known dog clone in 2005.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend