Hwang Woo-suk became a hero in his native South Korea when news broke that he had successfully cloned a human embryo and harvested stem cells which were used to create a new stem cell line for research purposes. The results were published in Science, the journal ofthe American Association for the Advancement of Science. It was heady stuff for cloning scientists – deemed the biggest breakthrough in embryonic stem cell research.
Evidently not. News broke today that Hwang faked it. “Nine of 11 stem cell colonies featured in the paper had been faked and the authenticity of the remaining two lines was in doubt. DNA data had also been manipulated.” There were already ethical questions stemming from the fact that Hwang used eggs donated by two junior research assisstants.
Is it really all that surprising that a researcher would act unethically in doing research that has such serious ethical quandaries to begin with?
By the way, I have written more substantively on the issue of embryonic stem cell research here.