Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Politicians comment on the Hwang fraud

AP (March 8, 2006)

Rep. Mark Souder, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Government Reform subcommittee on criminal justice and drug policy, said he was disturbed by reports that women in South Korea were paid to donate their eggs for the fraudulent research.

He said no human clinical trials or therapeutic applications using human embryonic stem cells currently exist.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, said that "opponents of embryonic stem cell research seem to have difficulty containing their glee" over the case of disgraced cloning researcher Hwang Woo-suk, who is now under investigation for fraudulent claims of human stem cell breakthroughs.

Cummings said instead of using the controversy as "a justification to impede the search for important new knowledge," lawmakers ensure that future research in America and elsewhere has strict government guidelines and oversight. [IPBiz: we need more thorough analysis of submitted work by the scientists, not by the government. Forced egg donations, as happened in Korea, may not be the largest problem in the US, but should be prohibited (if it isn't already not allowed)]

Dr. James Battey, chairman of the National Institutes of Health stem cell task force, said that while the South Korean fraud was unacceptable, "it does not reflect on the potential of human embryonic stem cell research one way or the other." [IPBiz: the failure of the scientific peers of Hwang to recognize the bad science does reflect on the current understanding, and estimates of time scales for commercialization, but it does not foreclose the potential, anymore than Jan-Hendrik's Schon frauds foreclosed potential in solid state physics. As to the role of the journals, there has to be a procedure for journals, analogous to that already in patent law, where all authors sign a declaration, asserting that they have read the paper, understand the paper, and that the data are true, on knowledge and belief.]


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