Bandits of science:
Pr Hwang Woo-suk: The come-back
SEOUL, South Korea — Hwang Woo-suk, a disgraced cloning expert from South Korea who had claimed major breakthroughs in stem-cell research, was convicted Monday of falsifying his papers and embezzling government research funds. A judge sentenced him to a suspended two-year prison term, saying Dr. Hwang had shown remorse and had not taken research money for personal use.
Dr. Hwang was once hailed as a national hero in the South. His school, Seoul National University, disowned him in 2005, saying that he had fabricated the papers he had published to global acclaim.
Dr. Hwang, a veterinarian by training, became known as an international pioneer in stem-cell research in 2004 when he and his colleagues published a paper in the journal Science claiming that they had created the world’s first cloned human embryos and had extracted stem cells from them.
Stem cells are the body’s master cells, giving rise to all tissue, organs and blood.
In another paper published in Science a year later, Dr. Hwang’s team said it had created human embryonic stem cells genetically matched to specific patients. That raised hopes of making replacement tissue to repair damaged organs or to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
But his fame crumbled when scientist bloggers began posting signs of fabricated data. The journal Science retracted both papers. In 2006, the government stripped Dr. Hwang of his license to carry out stem-cell research, and he was indicted on charges of fraud, misusing state funds and violating bioethics laws.
On Monday, he was convicted of embezzling about $705,000 in research funds he had won from the government and others based on his fabricated papers, and of illegally buying human eggs for his research.
Four of Dr. Hwang’s former junior colleagues were also given suspended prison terms or fines for participating in the fraud.
Dr. Hwang made no comment as he left the courthouse.
And…he comes back…
Updated: MAY 31, 2013
(with an interesting video)
Controversial scientist Hwang Woo-suk involved in mammoth cloning
Are these large woolly mammoths from the Ice Age about to come back to life?
Maybe not, but it’s not as far fetched as it seems.
Russian scientists from the Northeast Federal University say they have found a preserved female mammoth buried under ice on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the coast of northeast Russia.
The mammoth, believed to be around 10-to-15 thousand years old has been perfectly preserved.
It even spilt dark, liquid blood after being poked by scientists, who collected the samples in vials for further testing.
“We put the blood sample into the freezer. It still did not freeze at -17 degrees Celsius. We need to study it thoroughly to draw any conclusions.”
This discovery is drawing worldwide attention as the Russian scientists have partnered up with controversial Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk of the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation to look into the possibility of cloning the animal.
Hwang was the first scientist to clone a dog in 2005 but he became infamous for faking research in which he claimed to have successfully cloned human embryonic stem cells.
Reports say Russian, Korean and American scientists will do more research on the remains of the mammoth, and decide whether it would be possible to clone it.