Monday, May 01, 2006

SNU experts say Hwang 2004 paper did not show SCNT but rather parthenogenesis

In an important finding, experts for Seoul National University [SNU] have stated that the work presented by Hwang Woo-Suk in the journal Science in 2004 (the first Hwang paper in Science) arose from parthenogenesis, not SCNT. One recalls that British workers had claimed a (human) blastocyst through SCNT, although they did not claim creation of a cell line therefrom. With SNU now firmly asserting that Hwang did not succeed in human SCNT, the focus now shifts to the Newcastle work.


Seoul National University said May 1, 2006, that a group of experts confirmed an SNU panel’s findings in an investigation of stem cell research by the disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk. The panel in January found that a stem cell line Hwang’s team claimed to have created through transfer of somatic cell nuclei was actually created by parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction where the ovum develops into an embryo without fertilization. Hwang’s team, which published its discredited claims in the journal Science in 2004, has argued the university’s findings were inaccurate.

SNU in a press release Monday, May 1, 2006, said the re-investigation showed that the cell labeled NT1 was developed by parthenogenesis thorough gene manipulation. It also released the data on its website (

The university said an additional DNA fingerprinting analysis of 96 genes found no signs of paternal traits, which is impossible if a cell is created through somatic cell nuclei transfer. That corroborates the parthenogenesis theory and confirms that no evidence exists that Hwang ever created any stem cells from cloned embryos.

The re-investigation was carried out by Prof. Chung Jae-hoon of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Prof. Lee Jeong-bin of SNU College of Medicine, Prof. Lee Yong-seong of Hanyang University, and Dr. Hahn Yoon-soo of the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Four other SNU professors participated as advisors.

SNU said the re-investigation was conducted to dispel any confusion resulting from lack of expertise after some scientist hurried to offer their opinions based only on the documentation written by Hwang’s team. “We believe in the importance of elimination to stop the practice of misleading the public by distorting scientific facts,” it added.


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