Note the panel has concluded that 9 of the 11 cell lines that appeared in the journal Science were fabrications. No conclusion has been reached on the remaining two at this time. Note also that Hwang alleged junior researcher Kim Sun-jong swapped cloned patient-specific stem cells created by the team with normally fertilized stem cells from outside.
Some Korean media reported earlier on Dec. 26, 2005 that the panel already has judged that the two stem-cell lines in question are not cloned. However, the panel denied the report, saying that it was just a private opinion of one of its members.
Prosecutors also said it will not intervene in the case as long as the panel is still making up its mind.
"We will start working on the case when the university's panel cannot make any more progress in its investigation and asks us to help," prosecutor Hwang Hee-chul of Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office told reporters. "It won't be helpful in finding the truth if the prosecution takes charge now."
Prosecutors, however, reportedly already put travel bans on 10 people involved in the case, including Prof. Hwang, Roh Sung-il, chief of Mizmedi hospital who supplied human eggs for the research, and researcher Kim Sun-jong who is believed to have played a main role in fabricating the research data.
Kim flew back to Seoul on Saturday night from the United States and was questioned by the university early Sunday morning. According to the panel, Kim volunteered to come to the panel as he wanted to refute accusations against him, and is willing to comply if the prosecution summons him.
Kim has been accused by Hwang of swapping the stem cells used in the research. He is also believed to have been involved in fabricating the data of the two stem cells to make it look as if there were 11.
Prof. Hwang filed a petition with the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office on Thursday [Dec. 22], asking the prosecution to investigate whether his collaborators at Mizmedi, including Kim, tampered with the data on stem cells in a plot against him.