The Emperor Has No Clones

The Seoul National University (SNU) team investigating the results of a recent cloning paper just released their initial findings in Seoul. The group will continue to investigate Professor Hwang Woo-suk's imaginary stem cell lines, but has made an initial judgement. The nine person panel determined that the results for 9 of the 11 stem cell lines described in the landmark paper of Hwang, Schatten et. al. in the journal Science were fabricated.

Before the news release some people speculated that perhaps it wasn't deliberate fraud but sloppy science and a string of of unfortunate lab events that led to bad results. At best, this seems like a tenuous distinction. That level of research sloppiness is inexcusable. Neverthless, careless technique perhaps seemed more palatable to these apologists, because it seems incongruous that any scientist would make such a monumental effort to deceive. Yet the SNU panel has made it clear that fraud was the root of the problem. The investigating group will finish the DNA testing on the two remaining lines to verify them.

Sad, really, a lot of people are affected by this news -- patients, scientists, collaborators, research in general and stem cell research in particular.


Acronym Required previously wrote about the problems with the Hwang et al. research in Peer Grilling: Stem Cell Research", and "Stem Cell Ethics Glitch". We have also written about scientists self-reported transgressions and science reporting in medical journals.

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