Friday, December 30, 2005

Hwang's cell lines no longer exist

Dec. 29, 2005 -- South Korean laboratories used by scientist Hwang Woo Suk no longer have any stem cells created from patients' tissues, the result of the researcher's landmark May 2005 paper, the Seoul National University said.

``The patient-matching stem cells no longer exist,'' Roe Jung Hye, dean of research of affairs at the university, said in an e-mailed statement. The university has been conducting a probe on Hwang and his research since Dec. 16, including genetic tests on stem cells being stored at the laboratories. (from Bloomberg)

Furthermore, there is uncertainty as to whether Hwang possessed the technology to perform the experiments:

``There is disagreement among the investigative body on whether Hwang had the technology to begin with,'' Roe said. The university will likely announce the final results of its investigation some time next month, she said.

Furthermore, it now appears that Hwang possessed only two cell lines at the time his article was submitted to Science (March 15, 2005):

Only two of Hwang's 11 claimed stem-cell lines existed when he submitted his 2005 paper to the journal, Science, the university said on Dec. 23.

The stem cells in storage at Hwang's laboratories at the university were all derived from the fertility clinic MizMedi's blastocysts, which were generated by in vitro fertilization. Hwang's stem cells should have been found to be nuclear transferred embryonic stem cells from patients' skin cells.


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