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South Korean Scientist Testifies About Having Staff Falsify Data

July 04, 2006|From the Associated Press

SEOUL — A discredited cloning scientist admitted in court today that he ordered subordinates to falsify stem cell data for a paper in a scientific journal, but he denied violating a bioethics law.

Hwang Woo-suk, who falsely claimed breakthroughs in creating stem cells from cloned human embryos, testified at a trial in which he is accused of accepting funds under false pretenses, embezzlement and violating the bioethics law by purchasing eggs for research.

Hwang said he told researchers to make it appear as if they were basing their results on 11 cloned embryonic stem cell lines, rather than the two they were working with, for a 2005 paper in the journal Science.

"I do not want to ignore or deny this as the chief person responsible for the research," Hwang testified.

But even the two stem cell lines were also found to be fakes. They were actually ordinary stem cells created from fertilized eggs, not from cloned embryos.

Prosecutors have concluded that a junior researcher, unbeknownst to Hwang, brought in the regular cells and passed them off as cloned.

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