Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hwang Fails to Compartmentalize Ethics

Hwang Woo-suk, a veterinary professor at the Seoul National University whose team gave us human cloning and an alleged ten-fold efficiency gain in creating human embryonic stem cells (hESC) so that "therapeutic" cloning is now a "practical" possibility, has agreed to a university investigation after 30 fellow professors demanded an inquiry amid allegations that he falsified research.

Dr. Hwang's team claimed last May to have produced eleven unique stem cells that matched individual patients. Photos published with the research results in the journal Science, however, appear to be duplicates. His team maintains that the original research is genuine, even though the published pictures are not.

This controversy follows an earlier ethics breach where it was revealed that Dr. Hwang lied in an attempt to conceal that two female members of his team donated eggs for ESC experiments.

The University of Pittsburgh is also investigating the team's results because of the involvement at the time of one of its own professors. Dr. Gerald Schatten has already severed ties with the South Korean team as a result of the egg donor scandal.


I wonder when Dr. Hwang plans to begin maintaining respect for human dignity as he promised Seoul Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk in June.

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