Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hwang's stem cells: more Google activity on the fraud than the initial Hwang claim?

Using on stem cells, I noticed a few interesting things. Although there is one sharp peak for "Proposition 71," there was broad interest in "stem cells" before and after the "Proposition 71" peak. There was more interest in "Hwang" when Hwang got caught for fraud in December 2005 than when Hwang made his "patient specific cell line" disclosure in May 2005. As an aside, the folks at Google Trends Labs need to work on the presentation of their x-axis (time).

There were two peaks in Google activity for Hwang around January 2006: when the investigation was announced in December 2005 and when the initial results came in January 2006. The results which were presented in late December 2005/early January 2006 were preliminary, especially as to the (first) Hwang paper in Science in 2004.

[As another aside, my paper on Hwang which appeared in the March 2006 issue of JPTOS (88 JPTOS 239) was completed (and submitted) on January 11, 2006, and was not later revised. Therein, I focussed on the second Hwang paper in Science, published in May 2005, which paper clearly had difficulties. In January 2006, there was debate about whether Hwang, had or had not, achieved cloning of humans through SCNT, as claimed in the first Hwang paper in Science, and later claimed by the Newcastle group. I found the following AP report by Malcom Ritter of interest because of its different emphasis. SNU concluded that Hwang did not achieve SCNT cloning, but that determination was not reached until well after January 2006.]

On January 10, 2006, Malcom Ritter, in an article
Advocates Hold Out Hope for Stem Cells
, wrote:

Hwang's fraud was revealed Monday night by an investigatory panel at Seoul National University, where Hwang claimed in 2004 his lab had cloned a human embryo and extracted stem cells from it.


Last month, the same panel declared that last year's blockbuster paper by Hwang, in which he claimed he created 11 stem cell lines genetically matched to specific patients through embryo cloning, was also a fraud.

Robin Elliot is quoted: Perhaps "people will feel you cannot outsource this kind of science, that you need to have things going on in what is by far the world's most prolific scientific engine."

"We do have to go back some steps and start over on this particular avenue that Hwang was exploring. The question is, why should this not be done here?"

[IPBiz post 1663]


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