Friday, May 12, 2006

Korea Times publishes Hwang timeline, through May 12, 2006

Unlike the timelines of Science and Nature, the Korea Times includes the following:
June 2005 - Television network MBC receives a tip from a Hwang team insider that Hwang's 2005 paper in Science on tailor-made stem cells may contain fraudulent data and that he violated ethics codes. For purposes of history, one notes that it was that tip of an insider, and not anything from Gerald Schatten or any other international stem cell researchers, that broke this story. See also 88 JPTOS 239 (submitted 11 Jan 2006, published March 2006).

The complete timeline of the Korea Times is as follows:

February 2004 - The team of Hwang Woo-suk, a veterinary professor of Seoul National University (SNU), announces it has succeeded in producing the world's first human embryonic stem cells from cloned human embryos. The research is published in Science, a leading U.S. science journal.

May 2004 - The Korean Bioethics Association calls on Hwang to release details on the source of the 242 ova used in his research. Hwang dismisses the request, arguing he group is trying to discredit the research. Also, British science journal Nature reports that two of Hwang's junior team members are included on the list of ova donors. Hwang denies it.

May 2005 - Hwang's team claims to have developed the world's first human embryonic stem cells tailored to match the DNA of individual patients. The results are published in Science.

June 2005 - Television network MBC receives a tip from a Hwang team insider that Hwang's 2005 paper in Science on tailor-made stem cells may contain fraudulent data and that he violated ethics codes.

August 2005 - Hwang's team succeeds in developing Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog. The work is published in the British science journal Nature.

October 2005 - SNU launches the World Stem Cell Hub.

Nov. 12, 2005 - Gerald Schatten, Hwang's U.S. partner, says he has cut all ties with Hwang because of suspicions over unethical research conduct.

Nov. 22, 2005 - MBC airs the first part of a program about Hwang which reveals the alleged ovum donations by his junior researchers.

Nov. 24, 2005 - Hwang apologizes for his team's involvement in acquiring ova, following the MBC program that revealed unethical conduct. He admits the team paid compensation to donors and some of his junior female researchers also donated eggs.

Dec. 5, 2005 - YTN, an all-news cable channel, airs a program that criticizes MBC for having breached journalistic ethics by threatening Hwang's junior researchers to get information on Hwang. However, the program that supported Hwang was later found to have been produced with his assistance.

Dec. 15, 2005 - Roh Sung-il, chief of MizMedi Hospital, a fertility clinic in Seoul that provided ova and assisted Hwang's research, holds a press conference to declare that Hwang's stem cells never existed. MBC broadcasts the last of its series on suspicions about Hwang. The program, which had initiated questions on Hwang's achievements, had been put on hold for weeks because of fierce public support of the scientist.

Dec. 16, 2005 - Hwang holds a press conference to refute Roh's claim, saying someone may have swapped his stem cells with others, vaguely suggesting it was his junior researcher Kim Sun-jong.

Dec. 18, 2005 - A panel of experts from SNU launches an examination into Hwang's work.

Dec. 23, 2005 - The panel concludes the nine patient-tailored stem cell lines Hwang claimed to have produced were fabricated and that the stem cells did not exist. Hwang says someone swapped his genuine stem cells with others and requests the prosecution to investigate.

Jan. 10, 2006 - SNU says after a month-long investigation into the Hwang controversy that he used forged data for his 2004 stem cell paper published in the U.S. journal, Science.

Jan. 12, 2006 - The prosecution confiscates material from Hwang's house and office, Mizmedi Hospital and other research centers related to him.

Feb. 6, 2006 - The government's audit board says Hwang misappropriated 7 billion won (US$7.2 million) in state and private research donations. The prosecution launches a probe into his use of research funds.

Feb. 8, 2006 - MizMedi chief Roh Sung-il is summoned by the prosecution.

Feb. 10, 2006 - Ahn Cu-rie, a co-author of Hwang's papers who handled public affairs, is summoned by the prosecution.

March 2, 2006 - The prosecution summons Hwang, Kim and other related researchers for the first time.

April 3, 2006 - The prosecution searches and confiscates material at research centers related to Hwang.

April 10, 2006 - Responding to e-mailed prosecution queries, Gerald Schatten, Hwang's former research partner working for the University of Pittsburgh, denies involvement in the manipulation of Hwang's papers.

May 12, 2006 - The prosecution indicts, without physical detention, six leading members of Hwang Woo-suk's stem cell research team. It charges Hwang with fraud and embezzlement and Kim Sun-jong and other researchers with business interference.


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