Hwang Woo-Suk

Hwang Woo-Suk

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Hwang Woo-suk is a South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

n veterinarian and researcher. He was a professor of theriogenology
Theriogenology
Theriogenology is the branch of veterinary medicine concerned with reproduction, including the physiology and pathology of male and female reproductive systems of animals and the clinical practice of veterinary obstetrics, gynecology, and andrology. Theriogenologists are veterinarians with advanced...

 and biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 at Seoul National University
Seoul National University
Seoul National University , colloquially known in Korean as Seoul-dae , is a national research university in Seoul, Korea, ranked 24th in the world in publications in an analysis of data from the Science Citation Index, 7th in Asia and 42nd in the world by the 2011 QS World University Rankings...

 (dismissed on March 20, 2006) who became infamous for fabricating a series of experiments, which appeared in high-profile journals, in the field of stem cell
Stem cell
This article is about the cell type. For the medical therapy, see Stem Cell TreatmentsStem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells...

 research. Until November 2005, he was considered one of the pioneering experts in the field, best known for two articles published in the journal Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

in 2004 and 2005 where he reported to have succeeded in creating human embryonic stem cells by cloning
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

.

On May 12, 2006, Hwang was charged with embezzlement
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

 and bioethics law violations after it emerged much of his stem cell research had been faked. The Korea Times reported on June 10, 2007, that Seoul National University fired him, and the South Korean government canceled his financial support and barred him from engaging in stem cell research While being charged with fraud and embezzlement, he has kept a relatively low profile at the Sooam Bioengineering Research Institute in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, where he currently leads research efforts on creating cloned pig embryos and using them to make embryonic stem-cell lines. Since the controversy subsided, despite the past history and his lost credibility as a scientist, Hwang's lab has been actively publishing manuscripts, many of which have appeared on PubMed, the online database for biomedical research. In June 2010, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Guro-gu, Seoul, for a new addition to Hwang's Sooam Bioengineering Research Institute. In February 2011, Hwang visited Libya as part of a W150 billion project in the North African country to build a stem cell research center and transfer relevant technology. However, the project was canceled when civil war started there.

Hwang was sentenced to a two years suspended prison sentence at the Seoul Central District Court on 26 October 2009, after being found guilty of embezzlement and bioethical violations but cleared of fraud. On this same day, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 reported that the scientist in 2006 admitted faking his findings, after questions of impropriety had emerged. He had his conviction upheld on 15 December 2010 by an appeals court in South Korea, which knocked 6 months off Hwang’s suspended sentence.

Life


Hwang Woo Suk grew up in the central Korean province of South Chungcheong. He worked at a farm to finance his studies when his widow
Widow
A widow is a woman whose spouse has died, while a widower is a man whose spouse has died. The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed widowhood or occasionally viduity. The adjective form is widowed...

ed mother could not earn enough to provide for him and five other siblings. Hwang matriculated at Seoul National University
Seoul National University
Seoul National University , colloquially known in Korean as Seoul-dae , is a national research university in Seoul, Korea, ranked 24th in the world in publications in an analysis of data from the Science Citation Index, 7th in Asia and 42nd in the world by the 2011 QS World University Rankings...

 after graduating from Daejeon
Daejeon
Daejeon is South Korea's fifth largest metropolis and the provincial capital of Chungnam. Located in the center of the country, Daejeon had a population of over 1.5 million in 2010. It is at the crossroads of Gyeongbu railway, Honam railway, Gyeongbu Expressway, and Honam Expressway. Within the...

 high school. It was later revealed that despite his professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

s urging that he become a medical doctor
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

, Hwang chose to be a veterinarian
Veterinarian
A veterinary physician, colloquially called a vet, shortened from veterinarian or veterinary surgeon , is a professional who treats disease, disorder and injury in animals....

. After earning his doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

, Hwang briefly practiced veterinary medicine
Veterinary medicine
Veterinary Medicine is the branch of science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals...

, before moving into the field of scientific research. His aim at the time was to create a genetically superior Korean cow. Eventually, he became a full-time researcher at his alma mater
Alma mater
Alma mater , pronounced ), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele, and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.-General term:...

, Seoul National University.

Lifestyle


Every day, he would turn up at the laboratory at 6 AM and leave at midnight
Midnight
Midnight is the transition time period from one day to the next: the moment when the date changes. In the Roman time system, midnight was halfway between sunset and sunrise, varying according to the seasons....

. Hwang would only get to see his wife at night. As he stated himself, "I work all day long .. It is my habit and hobby. I am driven by the quest to find cures for the incurable." He has two sons from his first marriage in 1979 and a daughter from his second marriage in 1997. He divorced his first wife in 1988 while he was under treatment for liver cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. Most cases of HCC are secondary to either a viral hepatitide infection or cirrhosis .Compared to other cancers, HCC is quite a rare tumor in the United States...

. He was a Roman Catholic, but he converted to Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 after he visited Jeondeung Temple in Ganghwa-do, a part of Incheon
Incheon
The Incheon Metropolitan City is located in northwestern South Korea. The city was home to just 4,700 people when Jemulpo port was built in 1883. Today 2.76 million people live in the city, making it Korea’s third most populous city after Seoul and Busan Metropolitan City...

, in 1987. Hwang stated that he meditates
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 daily for forty minutes. He would also occasionally take time off to visit the temple to pray. Hwang also commented on his reverence towards Buddhist monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s: "I would have been a monk if I did not become a scientist. I respect their way of life."

Timeline


Hwang first caught media attention in South Korea when he announced he successfully created a cloned dairy cow, Yeongrong-i in February 1999. His alleged success was touted as the fifth instance in the world in cow cloning, with a notable caveat: Hwang failed to provide scientifically verifiable data for the research, giving only media sessions and photo-ops. Hwang's next claim came only two months later in April 1999, when he announced the cloning of a Korean cow, Jin-i, also without providing any scientifically verifiable data. Despite the notable absence of any of the scientific data needed to probe the validity of the research, Hwang's several claims were well received by the South Korean media and public, who were attracted by Hwang's claim of immeasurable economic prospect that his research was said to be promising. Until 2004, Hwang's main area of research remained in creating genetically modified livestock that included cows and pigs. During that period, Hwang claimed to have created a BSE
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy , commonly known as mad-cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. BSE has a long incubation period, about 30 months to 8 years, usually affecting adult cattle at a peak age onset of...

-resistant cow (which has not been verified) and also stated his intention to clone a Siberian tiger.

In February 2004, Hwang and his team announced that they had successfully created an embryonic stem cell with the somatic cell nuclear transfer
Somatic cell nuclear transfer
In genetics and developmental biology, somatic-cell nuclear transfer is a laboratory technique for creating a clonal embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus . It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as...

 method, and published their paper in the March 12 issue of Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

. Although Hwang had already established himself as an expert in animal cloning and secured celebrity status in South Korea in the late 90s, his alleged sudden success came as a surprise because this was the first reported success in human somatic cell cloning. Until Hwang's claim, it was generally agreed that creating a human stem cell by cloning was next to impossible due to the complexity of primates. Hwang explained that his team used 242 eggs to create a single cell line.

Hwang's team announced an even greater achievement a year later in May 2005, and claimed they had created 11 human embryonic stem cells using 185 eggs. His work, published in the June 17 issue of Science, was instantly hailed as a breakthrough in biotechnology because the cells were allegedly created with somatic cells from patients of different age and gender, while the stem cell of 2004 was created with eggs and somatic cells from a single female donor. This meant every patient could receive custom-made treatment with no immune reactions. In addition, Hwang's claim meant that his team had boosted their success rate by 14 times and that this technology could be medically viable.

Hwang made further headlines in May 2005 when he criticized U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

's policy on embryonic stem cell research. Also, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine named Hwang one of its "People Who Mattered 2004," stating that Hwang "has already proved that human cloning is no longer science fiction, but a fact of life."

Following on the earlier success, on August 3, 2005, Hwang announced that his team of researchers had become the first team to successfully clone a dog, which has been independently verified through genetic testing. The dog, an Afghan Hound
Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest sighthound dog breeds. Distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat and its tail with a ring curl at the end, the breed acquired its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan, where it was originally used to hunt hares and gazelles by coursing them....

, was named Snuppy
Snuppy
Snuppy is an Afghan hound, credited with being the world's first cloned dog. The puppy was created using the cell of an ear from an adult Afghan hound and involved 123 surrogate mothers, of which only three produced pups...

.

Shortly after his groundbreaking 2005 work, Hwang was appointed to head the new World Stem Cell Hub, a facility that was to be the world's leading stem cell research centre. However, in November 2005, Gerald Schatten
Gerald Schatten
Gerald Schatten is an American stem cell researcher with interests in cell, developmental, and reproductive biology. He is Professor and Vice-Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is also...

, a University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on what was then the American frontier, Pitt is one of the oldest continuously chartered institutions of...

 researcher who had worked with Hwang for two years, made the surprise announcement that he had ceased his collaboration with Hwang. In an interview, Schatten commented that "my decision is grounded solely on concerns regarding oocyte
Oocyte
An oocyte, ovocyte, or rarely ocyte, is a female gametocyte or germ cell involved in reproduction. In other words, it is an immature ovum, or egg cell. An oocyte is produced in the ovary during female gametogenesis. The female germ cells produce a primordial germ cell which undergoes a mitotic...

 (egg) donations in Hwang's research reported in 2004." Following an intense media probe, Roh Sung-il, one of Hwang's close collaborators and head of MizMedi Women's Hospital, held a news conference on November 21.

During the conference Roh admitted that he had paid women US$1,400 each for donating their eggs, eggs that were later used in Hwang's research. However, Roh claimed Hwang was unaware of this, while the South Korean Ministry of Health assured that no laws or ethical guidelines had been breached as there were no commercial interests involved in this payout. Hwang maintained that he was unaware that these actions were happening during the research and he resigned from his post.

On November 22, "PD Su-cheop" (Producer's Notebook), a popular MBC
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC (Hangul : 문화방송주식회사, Munhwa Bangsong Jushikoesa) is one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks. Munhwa is the Korean word for "culture". Its flagship terrestrial television...

 investigative reporting show, raised the possibility of unethical conduct in the egg cell acquiring process. Despite the factual accuracy of the report, news media as well as people caught up in nationalistic fervor in their unwavering support for Hwang asserted that criticism of Hwang's work was "unpatriotic," so much so that the major companies who were sponsoring the show immediately withdrew their support.

On November 24, Hwang held a press conference in Seoul, in which he declared his intention of resigning from most of his official posts.

He also apologized for his actions. In the interview he said, "I was blinded by work and my drive for achievement." He denied coercing his researchers into donating eggs and claimed that he found out about the situation only after it had occurred.

He added that he had lied about the source of the eggs donated to protect the privacy of his female researchers, and that he was not aware of the Declaration of Helsinki
Declaration of Helsinki
The Declaration of Helsinki is a set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association . It is widely regarded as the cornerstone document of human research ethics...

, which clearly enumerates his actions as a breach of ethical conduct.

After the press conference, which was aired on all major South Korean television networks, most of the nation's media outlets, government ministries, and the public gave support to Hwang. Sympathy for Hwang poured out, resulting in an increase in the number of women who wanted to donate their eggs for Hwang's research.

On December 29, 2005, the university determined that all 11 of Hwang's stem cell lines were fabricated. The university announced on January 10, 2006, that Hwang's 2004 and 2005 papers on Science were both fabricated. Following on the confirmation of scientific misconduct, on January 11, Science retracted both of Hwang's papers on unconditional terms.

On January 12, 2006, Hwang held a press conference to apologize for the entire fiasco, but still did not admit to cheating. Instead, he explicitly put the blame on other members of his research project for having deceived him with false data and alleged a conspiracy
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

, saying that his projects had been sabotaged and that there was theft of materials involved. He said that cloning human stem cells was possible and that he had the technology to do it, and if he were given six more months he could prove it. This is an extension of the "ten days" he said he needed to re-create the stem cells that he asked for back on December 16, 2005. Seoul prosecutors raided his home that day for files and evidence, to start a "criminal investigation" of Hwang.

On January 20, 2006 Hwang maintained that two of his 11 forged stem cell lines had been maliciously switched for cells from regular, not cloned, embryos. The allegation involves the lines Hwang claims to have created at Seoul-based MizMedi Hospital.

Hwang's laboratory technique




In the late 1990s, the method that scientists used in cloning was somatic cell nuclear transfer
Somatic cell nuclear transfer
In genetics and developmental biology, somatic-cell nuclear transfer is a laboratory technique for creating a clonal embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus . It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as...

, which is the same procedure that was used to create Dolly the sheep
Dolly the Sheep
Dolly was a female domestic sheep, and the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. She was cloned by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh in Scotland...

. This laboratory technique begins when an egg is taken from a donor and the nucleus is removed from the egg, creating an enucleated egg. A cell, which contains DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

, is then taken from the animal being cloned. The enucleated egg is then fused together with the nucleus of the cloning subject's cell using electricity. This creates an embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

, which is implanted into a surrogate mother through in vitro fertilization. If the procedure is successful, then the surrogate mother will give birth to a baby that is a clone of the cloning subject at the end of a normal gestation period. The success rate is only about one or two out of 100 embryos. It took 277 attempts to create Dolly.

Hwang allegedly used this technique at his laboratory in SNU
Seoul National University
Seoul National University , colloquially known in Korean as Seoul-dae , is a national research university in Seoul, Korea, ranked 24th in the world in publications in an analysis of data from the Science Citation Index, 7th in Asia and 42nd in the world by the 2011 QS World University Rankings...

 to clone dogs during his experiments throughout the early 2000s. He claimed that it was possible to clone mammals and that probability for success can be better than 1 in 277 attempts (as in similar cases such as Dolly). Although much of Hwang's animal cloning work conspicuously lacked any supporting papers, Hwang's cloned dog, Snuppy
Snuppy
Snuppy is an Afghan hound, credited with being the world's first cloned dog. The puppy was created using the cell of an ear from an adult Afghan hound and involved 123 surrogate mothers, of which only three produced pups...

, was featured in an August 2005 issue of Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

.

Hwang's intention to develop better techniques on cloning was focused on stem cells
because they are still at an early stage of development and retain the potential to turn into many different types of cell and when they divide, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell
Stem cell
This article is about the cell type. For the medical therapy, see Stem Cell TreatmentsStem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells...

 or become another type of cell with a more specialized function.

According to stem cell biologists, it might be possible to harness this ability to turn stem cells into a super "repair kit" for the body, theoretically to use stem cells to generate healthy tissue to replace that either damaged by trauma or compromised by disease.
The many conditions and illnesses that may eventually be treated by stem cell therapy include Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

, Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

, heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

, arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

, diabetes, burns
Burn (injury)
A burn is a type of injury to flesh caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, light, radiation or friction. Most burns affect only the skin . Rarely, deeper tissues, such as muscle, bone, and blood vessels can also be injured...

, and spinal cord
Spinal cord
The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain . The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system...

 damage.

Controversies


Until late November 2005, Hwang was criticized only for unpublicized ethical
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 violations. Colleagues and media outlets asserted that he had paid female donors for egg donations and that he had received donations from two junior researchers, both of which were violations. Later controversies would center around scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions: *Danish definition: "Intention or...

.

His team, which cloned the first human embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 to use for research, said they had used the same technology to create batch
Batch
Batch may refer to:Food and drink*Batch , an alcoholic fruit beverage*Batch loaf, a type of bread popular in Ireland*A dialect term for a bread roll used in Nuneaton and Coventry, England*Small batch, bourbon whiskey blended from selected barrels...

es of embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

nic stem cell
Stem cell
This article is about the cell type. For the medical therapy, see Stem Cell TreatmentsStem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells...

s from nine patients. According to Hwang, the result was much more efficient than they had hoped.
Hwang's integrity as a researcher was again put in doubt when it was revealed that "PD Su-cheop" scheduled a follow-up report questioning his achievement published in Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

in June 2005, which stated he had cloned 11 lines of embryonic stem cells. This caused furious backlash among many South Koreans, and the reaction only intensified when it was discovered that Kim Sun-Jong, one of Hwang's researchers from MizMedi, was coerced by illegal means to testify against Hwang. As a result, the scheduled broadcast was canceled and the network even made a public apology to the nation, everyone more or less operating under the assumption that the show was at fault and not Hwang. Yet, other news outlets began to question Hwang's claims.

Close scrutiny revealed that several of the photos of purportedly different cells were in fact photos of the same cell. Hwang responded that these additional photos were accidentally included and that there was no such duplication in the original submission to Science. This was later confirmed by the journal.

Researchers raised questions about striking similarities between the DNA profiles
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 of the cloned cells. Then collaborator Gerald Schatten asked Science to remove his name from the paper, stating as a reason that there were "allegations from someone involved with the experiments that certain elements of the report may be fabricated".

In the midst of national confusion, Hwang disappeared from public sight, to be hospitalized days later for alleged stress-related fatigue, while public opinion gradually began to turn against Hwang with even the major Korean companies who pulled their support from "PD Su-Cheop" reportedly now less than pleased with Hwang. Days later, Hwang started going to his laboratory while requesting Seoul National University to officially conduct a probe to the allegations surrounding him.

The scandal took a dramatic turn on December 15, when Roh Sung-il, who collaborated on that paper, stated to media outlets that nine of those eleven lines had been faked; specifically, DNA tests illustrated that those nine lines shared identical DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

, implying that they had come from the same source. Roh stated that "Professor Hwang admitted to fabrication," and that he, Hwang, and another co–author had asked Science to withdraw the paper. Adding fuel to the fire, MBC broadcasted the content of the canceled PD Su-cheop show, which substantiated Roh's claim.

On the same day, ABC news reported that Science had not yet received an official request from Hwang to withdraw the paper, and it had refused to remove Schatten's name from the paper, stating, "No single author, having declared at the time of submission his full and complete confidence in the contents of the paper, can retract his name unilaterally, after publication."

Several prominent scientists, including Ian Wilmut
Ian Wilmut
Sir Ian Wilmut, OBE FRS FMedSci FRSE is an English embryologist and is currently Director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He is best known as the leader of the research group that in 1996 first cloned a mammal from an adult somatic...

, who cloned Dolly the sheep
Dolly the Sheep
Dolly was a female domestic sheep, and the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. She was cloned by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh in Scotland...

 in 1996, and Bob Lanza
Robert Lanza
Robert Paul Lanza is an American Doctor of Medicine, scientist, Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine....

, a cloning expert based in Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

, did call on Hwang to submit his paper to an outside group for independent analysis. Lanza noted, "You can't fake the results if they're carried out by an independent group. I think this simple test could put the charges to rest."

Two major press conferences were held on Korean networks
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

 on December 16, one with Hwang followed by the other with his former colleague, Roh Sung-il. Hwang started his press conference by claiming that the technology to make stem cells exists, which is not an explicit statement that the stem cell lines he featured in his paper to Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

were not fakes. He, however, acknowledged the falsifications of research data in the paper, attributing them to unrecoverable "artificial mistakes." He said that there was a problem with the original lines caused by contamination
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

, and if he were given ten more days he could re-create the stem cell lines. He accused Dr. Kim Sun-Jong, a former collaborator, of "switching" some of the stem cell lines.

Despite Hwang's claim, in another press conference held only minutes later, Roh Sung-il rebutted Hwang's accusation, saying Hwang was blackmailing MizMedi and Kim Sun-jong. He maintained that at least nine of the eleven stem cell
Stem cell
This article is about the cell type. For the medical therapy, see Stem Cell TreatmentsStem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells...

 lines were fakes and that Hwang is simply untrustworthy.

Public opinion appears to be that Hwang was dancing around the issue of whether his work was faked or not.

"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. Roh also told MBC
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC (Hangul : 문화방송주식회사, Munhwa Bangsong Jushikoesa) is one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks. Munhwa is the Korean word for "culture". Its flagship terrestrial television...

 television that Hwang had pressured a former scientist at his lab to fake data to make it look like there were 11 stem cell colonies. In a separate report, a former researcher told MBC
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC (Hangul : 문화방송주식회사, Munhwa Bangsong Jushikoesa) is one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks. Munhwa is the Korean word for "culture". Its flagship terrestrial television...

 that Hwang ordered him to fabricate photos to make it appear there were 11 separate colonies from only three. [...] University of Pittsburgh researcher Gerald Schatten has already asked that Science remove him as the senior author of the report, citing questions about the paper's accuracy. Seoul National University announced this week it would conduct an internal probe into Hwang's research."

Some scientists have started questioning Hwang's earlier work published in Science in February 2004 in which he claimed to have cloned embryonic stem cells. Maria Biotech head Park Se-pill said, ``Up until now, I have believed Hwang did derive cloned embryonic stem cells although he admitted to misconduct in his follow-up paper on patient-specific stem cells...Now, I am not sure whether the cloned stem cell really existed.’’

On July 26, 2006, Hwang said in testimony that he spent part of 500 million won in private donations in attempts to clone extinct Russian mammoths and Korean tigers.

Official probe by Seoul National University and the confirmation of fraud


An internal panel was set up in Seoul National University to investigate the allegation, and the probe was started on December 17, 2005. The panel sealed off Hwang's laboratory and conducted a thorough investigation, collecting testimonies from Hwang, Guang Gao, Roh and other people that were involved with the scandal. On December 23, the panel announced its initial finding that Hwang had intentionally fabricated stem cell research results creating nine fake cell lines out of eleven, and added that the validity of two remaining cell lines is yet to be confirmed. The panel stated that Hwang's misconduct is "a grave act damaging the foundation of science." Hwang's claim of having used only 185 eggs to create stem cell lines was also denied by the panel, which indicated that more eggs may have been used in the research process.

The panel announced additional findings on December 29, and confirmed that there are no patient-matched embryonic stem cells in existence and that Hwang's team doesn't have the scientific data to prove any of the stem cells have ever been made.

In its final report published on January 10, 2006, the panel reaffirmed its previous findings while announcing additional discoveries. The panel found out that, contrary to Hwang's claim of having used 185 eggs for his team's 2005 paper, at least 273 eggs were shown to have been used according to research records kept in Hwang's lab. In addition, the panel discovered that Hwang's team was supplied with 2,061 eggs in the period of November 28, 2002 to December 8, 2005. Hwang's claim of not having known about the donation of eggs by his own female researchers was also denied by the panel; in fact, it was discovered that Hwang himself had distributed egg donation consent forms to his researchers and personally escorted one to the MizMedi Hospital to have the egg extraction procedure.

The panel stated that Hwang's 2004 Science paper was also fabricated and decided the stem cell discussed in the paper may have been generated by a case of parthenogenetic process
Parthenogenesis
Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction found in females, where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by a male...

. Although Hwang's team didn't rule out the possibility of parthenogenetic process in the paper, the panel said, his team didn't make any conscientious effort to probe the possibility through the tests available.

Chung Myunghee, the head of the panel, said at a news conference that the panel is not in a position to investigate Hwang's claim of his stem cells having been switched with MizMedi's, but added that such a claim is incomprehensible when there is no data to prove any of the stem cells were ever made to begin with.

The panel, in conclusion, stated that Hwang's team intentionally fabricated the data in both the 2004 and the 2005 papers and that it is "an act of deception targeted to both scientific community and general public." However, the panel confirmed that Hwang's team actually succeeded in cloning a dog they named Snuppy
Snuppy
Snuppy is an Afghan hound, credited with being the world's first cloned dog. The puppy was created using the cell of an ear from an adult Afghan hound and involved 123 surrogate mothers, of which only three produced pups...

. (See also Nature 439:122-123)

Hwang's announcement of resignation and the official dismissal


On December 23, 2005 Hwang apologized for "creating a shock and a disappointment" and announced that he was resigning his position as professor at the university. However, Hwang maintained that patient-matched stem cell technology remains in South Korea, and his countrymen shall see it.

Seoul National University said Hwang's resignation request will not be accepted, citing a university regulation that dictates an employee under investigation may not resign from a post. This regulation is effected to prevent premature resignations by investigated employees, which would allow them to avoid full retributions according to the findings of the investigation (and perhaps avoid involuntary termination), while reaping the benefits of the more honorable and lucrative voluntary resignation.

On February 9, 2006, the university suspended Hwang's position as the university's professor, together with six other faculty members who participated in Hwang's team. Subsequently, Hwang was dismissed from the university on March 20, 2006.

The indictment of Hwang and five of his collaborators


On May 12, 2006, Hwang was indicted on charges of fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

, embezzlement
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

 and breach of the country's bioethics
Bioethics
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy....

 law, without physical detention
Detention (imprisonment)
Detention is the process when a state, government or citizen lawfully holds a person by removing their freedom of liberty at that time. This can be due to criminal charges being raised against the individual as part of a prosecution or to protect a person or property...

. Prosecutors also brought fraud charges against the three stem cell researchers. He embezzled 2.8 billion won ($3 million) out of some 40 billion won in research funds for personal purposes and the illegal purchase of ova used in his experiments.

The prosecution also said Hwang's three associates involved in his stem cell research, Yoon Hyun-soo, Lee Byeong-chun and Kang Sung-keun, also misappropriated tens of millions of won in research money. Investigators have been tracking 24.6 billion won to find out how the research money was spent. It was part of Hwang's 36.9 billion won research funds raised through state support and private donations. Investigators said Hwang used bank accounts held by relatives and subordinates in 2002 and 2003 to receive about 475 million won from private organizations. He allegedly laundered the money by withdrawing it all in cash, breaking it up into smaller amounts and putting it back in various bank accounts. Hwang also withdrew 140 million won in August 2001 to buy gifts for his sponsors, including politicians and other prominent social figures, before Chusok holidays, according to prosecutors. He also allegedly misappropriated around 26 million won in research funds in September 2004 to buy a car for his wife. Hwang is suspected of embezzling 600 million won, provided by a private foundation, on multiple occasions from 2001 to 2005 for personal use. Prosecutors are also accusing him of illegally paying some 38 million won to 25 women who provided ova for his research through Hanna Women's Clinic in the first eight months of 2005. They also said Hwang gave several dozen politicians about 55 million won in political funds on numerous occasions from 2001 to 2005. He allegedly provided 14 million won to executives of large companies that provided financial support for his research. The prosecution added Hwang wired about 200 million won to a Korean American, identified only as Kang, in September 2005 and received the equivalent amount in U.S. currency from him when the scientist visited the United States two months later. Also in 2005, Hwang received one billion won each in research funds from SK Group
SK Group
SK Group is the third largest conglomerate in South Korea. The SK Group is composed of 92 subsidiary and affiliate companies that share the SK brand and culture....

 and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation based on his fabricated stem cell research results. Meanwhile, investigators said Lee Byeong-chun and Kang Sung-keun, both professors of veterinary science at Seoul National University, embezzled about 300 million won and 100 million won each in state funds by inflating research-related expenses. Yoon Hyun-soo, a biology professor at Hanyang University
Hanyang University
Hanyang University is one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea. In particular, Hanyang's School of Engineering is one of the oldest engineering schools in Korea. The main campus is Hanyang University at Seoul, located in the Seoul, with its branch campus, the ERICA campus , located...

, also embezzled 58 million won from the research fund managed by MizMedi Hospital. http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200605/kt2006051218295711960.htm

Parthenogenesis


On August 2, 2007, after much independent investigation, it was revealed that Hwang's team succeeded in extracting cells from eggs that had undergone parthenogenesis. Hwang claimed he and his team had extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos. However, further examination of the cells' chromosomes shows the same indicators of parthenogenesis in those extracted stem cells as are found in the mice created by Tokyo scientists in 2004. Although Hwang deceived the world about being the first to create artificially cloned human embryos, he did contribute a major breakthrough to the field of stem cell research. The process may offer a way for creating stem cells that are genetically matched to a particular woman for the treatment of degenerative diseases.

The news of the breakthrough came just a month after an announcement from the International Stem Cell Corporation (ISC), a California based stem cell research company, that they had successfully created the first human embryos through parthenogenesis. Although the actual results of Hwang's work were just discovered, those embryos were created by him and his team before February 2004, when the fabricated cloning results were announced, which would make them the first to successfully perform the process. Jeffrey Janus, president and director of research for ISC, agrees that "Dr. Hwang's cells have characteristics found in parthenogenetic cells" but remains cautious, saying "it needs more study."

South Korean government's involvement in the scandal


After having acquired a celebrity status in South Korea, Hwang actively sought to establish every possible tie to political and economic institutions in the country. Hwang especially tried to win favor from the Roh Moo-hyun
Roh Moo-hyun
Roh Moo-hyun GOM GCB was the 16th President of South Korea .Roh's pre-presidential political career was focused on human rights advocacy for student activists in South Korea. His electoral career later expanded to a focus on overcoming regionalism in South Korean politics, culminating in his...

 government, which in turn was suffering from a lack of popular support and wanted to demonstrate its competency by creating and promoting an exemplary policy success.

Hwang approached Park Ki-young, a former biology professor, then appointed as the Information, Science and Technology Advisor for the President, and put her as one of the co-authors in his 2004 Science paper. Ties with Park yielded a favorable environment for Hwang in the government, as a non-official group consisting of high-ranking government officials was created to support Hwang's research that includes not only Hwang and Park, but also Kim Byung-joon, Chief National Policy Secretary, and Jin Dae-je, Information and Communications minister. The group was dubbed as "Hwang-kum-pak-chui," a loose acronym made from each member's family names, which means "golden bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

"
in Korean.

After Hwang's paper was published in Science in 2005, support for Hwang came in full swing. In June 2005, the Ministry of Science and Technology selected Hwang as the first recipient of the title Supreme Scientist, an honor worth US$15 million. Hwang, having already claimed the title of POSCO
POSCO
POSCO is a multinational steel-making company headquartered in Pohang, South Korea. It is the world's third-largest steelmaker by market value and the most profitable Asia-based steelmaker....

 Chair Professor worth US$ 1.5 million, secured more than US$ 27 million worth of support in that year.

President Roh had been acquainted with Hwang since 2003, and made a number of comments intended to protect Hwang from potential bioethical issues
Bioethics
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy....

. On June 18, 2004, Roh awarded Hwang a medal and said, "it is not possible nor desirable to prohibit research, just because there are concerns that it may lead to a direction that is deemed unethical." In another instance at the opening of World Stem Cell Hub on October 19, 2005, Roh remarked, "politicians have a responsibility to manage bioethical controversies not to get in the way of this outstanding research and progress."

On December 5, 2005, after PD Su-cheop stirred a national controversy, Cheong Wa Dae
Cheong Wa Dae
The Cheongwadae or Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state, the President of the Republic of Korea...

 reaffirmed its unflinching support for Hwang and his research team. Roh said, "We'll continue to support Professor Hwang. We hope he will return to his research lab soon for the sake of people with physical difficulties and the public," according to presidential spokesman Kim Man-soo.

While implying the controversies over MBC-TV's
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC (Hangul : 문화방송주식회사, Munhwa Bangsong Jushikoesa) is one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks. Munhwa is the Korean word for "culture". Its flagship terrestrial television...

 forceful methods used to gather information from Hwang's former junior staff members, Roh said, "The disputes will be resolved gradually and naturally through following scientific research and study. We hope the ongoing disputes over Hwang's achievement will be settled without further trouble."

It was alleged that advisor Park Ki-young deliberately avoided to report Roh about details of Hwang's allegation for misconduct, while emphasizing a breach of journalist ethics by MBC. Park, after weeks of silence for her role in the controversy, announced her intent to resign from the advisor post on January 10, 2006.

On January 11, 2006, the national post office stopped selling post stamps commemorating Hwang's research. The title of Supreme Scientist awarded to Hwang was revoked on March 21, 2006, after Hwang was dismissed from Seoul National University the day before.

Lawmakers' response


On December 6, 2005 a group of 43 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties inaugurated a body to support cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk. Members of the group, dubbed the lawmakers’ group supporting Professor Hwang Woo-suk, pledged to help Hwang continue his experiments in pursuit of a scientific breakthrough.

"There are many lawmakers who, regardless of party affiliation, want to support Hwang. We will join forces to help Hwang devote himself to his studies," Rep.
Legislator
A legislator is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are usually politicians and are often elected by the people...

 Kwon Sun-taik of the ruling Uri Party
Uri Party
The Yeollin Uri Party , generally abbreviated to Uri Party , was the briefly ruling political party in South Korea with a centrist political ideology...

 said in a news conference at the National Assembly, who was also the leader of the group.

He said the group will seek to establish bioethics
Bioethics
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy....

 guidelines and come up with supporting measures for biotechnology researchers in the country. Among those who have joined the group were Reps. Kim Hyuk-kyu, Kim Young-choon and Kim Sung-gon of the ruling party, Kim Hyong-o of the main opposition Grand National Party
Grand National Party
The Grand National Party is a conservative political party in South Korea. Its Korean name, Hannara, has a double meaning as "Great National" and "Korean National." The GNP holds a majority of seats in the 18th Assembly, lasting from 2008 to 2012....

 (GNP) and Kim Hak-won, chairman of the United Liberal Democrats
United Liberal Democrats
The United Liberal Democrats was a liberal conservative political party in South Korea, whose support mostly came from Chungcheong region. In the 2004 parliamentary election, it gained only 4 seats in the National Assembly, and its president Kim Jong-pil announced his retirement from politics...

.

Some female lawmakers participated in a civic group for voluntary egg donations for therapeutic research, which opened in November 2005 following the egg procurement scandal.

Reps. Song Young-sun and Chin Soo-hee of the GNP said they would provide their eggs to Hwang’s research team. Meanwhile, the ruling and opposition parties called on the Korean Broadcasting Commission to thoroughly investigate the staffers of MBCs PD Notebook, which broadcast a documentary program critical of Hwang with coercive tactics in interviews, and reprimand them.

After most of Hwang's claims were confirmed fake on January 10, 2006, some lawmakers revealed that Hwang made several campaign donations to them and other lawmakers.

Return of "PD Su-Cheop" to the air in 2006


The investigative journalism
Investigative journalism
Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Investigative journalism...

 show MBC
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC (Hangul : 문화방송주식회사, Munhwa Bangsong Jushikoesa) is one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks. Munhwa is the Korean word for "culture". Its flagship terrestrial television...

 "PD Su-Chup (Producer's Notebook)" (Korean: PD수첩) returned on air on January 3, 2006 and summarized the course of Hwang's scandal to date. The show had been cancelled under pressure, after it aired its momentous show on November 22 that correctly accused Hwang of oddities in his research. The last show in 2005, aired on November 29, covered other topics. It remained off air for five weeks. The second show in 2006, on January 10, dealt further with the Hwang affair, focusing on several instances of Hwang's media spinning
Spin (public relations)
In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure...

 tactics. It also covered the unwillingness on the part of a significant part of the public in South Korea to believe that someone who had almost achieved a status of a national hero committed such a shame.

Rallies supporting Hwang


The same day many South Korean citizens rallied outside Hwang's laboratory; as more than 1,000 women pledged to donate their eggs for the scientist's research. [...] Hwang has been in seclusion
Solitude
Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people. It may stem from bad relationships, deliberate choice, infectious disease, mental disorders, neurological disorders or circumstances of employment or situation .Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one...

 since apologizing in November 2005, for ethical lapses in human egg procurement for his research. The symbolic event was as a gesture from Hwang's supporters that says they intend to donate their eggs with 1,000 of their members after they took egg-donation pledges online via their website. "Dr. Hwang will not be able to return to the lab, at least, until at the end of this week because he is extremely exhausted, mentally and physically," a key team member, Ahn Cu Rie, wrote in an e-mail
E-mail
Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

 to Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

. [...] At Hwang's lab at Seoul National University, women left bouquets of the national flower, a Hibiscus
Hibiscus
Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is quite large, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world...

 called the Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus
Hibiscus syriacus is a widely cultivated ornamental shrub in the genus Hibiscus. Common names include Rose of Sharon , Shrub Althea and Rose Althea.-Growth:...

, for the scientist along with notes of encouragement.

The stem cell research center that Hwang led before resigning said it hoped he would return, even though his lapses could hurt its efforts to work with other research institutions.

"So far more than 700 South Korean women have pledged to donate their eggs and the number is steadily rising," said Lee Sun-min, an official at a private foundation launched last week to promote egg donations. [...] Thousands of patients have applied to participate in the research, hoping the technology could help treat damaged spinal cords or diseases such as Parkinson's. On Tuesday, an official at the lab said it was hoped that Hwang would return.

"We're waiting for Hwang to assume the leadership after some rest," Seong Myong-hoon told a news conference. But Seong said the controversy could hurt the lab. That conclusion was reached after one of Hwang's close research partners, Ahn Cu-rie, returned Tuesday after a 10-day trip to meet with scientists in the United States and Japan, Seong said.

"The reaction of foreign scientists was that they understand what Dr. Hwang disclosed, but they cannot accept that without criticism," Seong said. "We can never be optimistic about cooperation with foreign institutions."

Seong added: "Researchers of our country were newly awakened to the fact that we have to take every precaution to ensure we don't fall behind international ethics (guidelines) while researching."

"The only hope for us is Dr. Hwang. Don't trample on our one shred of hope," a woman whose son suffers from a severe kidney ailment told South Korean broadcaster YTN
YTN
YTN is a 24-hour news channel in South Korea. It was founded on September 14, 1993 as a subsidiary of Yonhap News Agency, and began broadcasting on March 1, 1995...

 at the university. The woman also pledged to sell her eggs to Hwang.

Hundreds of South Koreans have offered to donate eggs for stem cell research in a show of support for cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk despite his admitted ethical breaches.

Online ova donations


A website
Website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

 backed by Hwang's supporters began taking egg-donation pledges online since late November 2005 after Hwang resigned all his official posts at World Stem Cell Hub, relaying them to a clinic linked to Hwang's research team. The number of pledges had reached 725 by early December 2005.

Banners
Web banner
A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web delivered by an ad server. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser...

 like "Please come back, Doctor Hwang. I'm already dying to see you, Professor Hwang," were put up on the homepage.

The site also carried a photo of Hwang and his cloned dog, Snuppy
Snuppy
Snuppy is an Afghan hound, credited with being the world's first cloned dog. The puppy was created using the cell of an ear from an adult Afghan hound and involved 123 surrogate mothers, of which only three produced pups...

, trimmed with images of the Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus
Hibiscus syriacus is a widely cultivated ornamental shrub in the genus Hibiscus. Common names include Rose of Sharon , Shrub Althea and Rose Althea.-Growth:...

 South Korea's national flower in an apparent appeal for patriotism
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

. The national anthem played as background music.

Those who applied to donate ova included those with incurable illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

es or their family members, who hope that Hwang's research will eventually lead to cures, as well as just ordinary young, healthy women.

"Please don't give up, doctor Hwang. Your research is my only hope. You should take all of my ova if they help," Kim Yong-Hae, a 27-year-old disabled woman, said in a message, becoming the 487th donor.

"I'm a healthy 38-year-old woman who has not given birth to a child. I am impressed by Hwang's dedication. I want to give meaningful help to Hwang's great work," a would-be donor calling herself Amidist said in a message.

Opposition to Hwang's nationalist supporters


Although a few popular message boards in South Korea were overwhelmed by Hwang's supporters with nationalist fervor, most other communities provided a counterbalance, including BRIC (Biological Research Information Center) http://bric.postech.ac.kr and SCIENG (Scientists and Engineers' community) http://www.scieng.net/v2/index.php.

A member of BRIC, a website dedicated to biologists, first discovered the discrepancies in DNA analysis data in Hwang's paper and made them public. Other members followed suit, uncovering the fact that many photos presented in the paper were also fabricated.

See also

  • Hwa-Byeong
  • List of geneticists and biochemists
  • List of Korea-related topics
  • List of Koreans
  • Scientific misconduct
    Scientific misconduct
    Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions: *Danish definition: "Intention or...

    , including a list of science scandals.

External links