Thursday, December 15, 2005

Korean Cloning Results Apparently Faked

See the article American Co-Author Wants His Name Off Stem Cell Paper, By Nicholas Wade, published December 14, 2005. Note that this link requires registration on the New York Times web site.
After several days of serious accusations about the validity of a prominent article on the cloning of human cells, the senior author, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh, has asked for his name to be removed as co-author, the editors of the journal Science said yesterday...

The report was hailed as the first step toward the goal of treating people with their own tissues, generated through embryonic cells...
However, many of the photos in the article proved to be duplicates or photos of different parts of the same cell culture. Also, DNA analysis of supposedly different stem-cell lines were actually identical. This would indicate that the researchers failed to do what they had claimed.
If this were true, critics say, the paper would not have any evidence that the cell colonies came from the donors or that Dr. Hwang ever performed any successful nuclear transfer experiments...

The promise of Dr. Hwang's Science paper is that it seemed to make the long-sought goal of therapeutic cloning quite practical by using only 10 or so human eggs per patient, compared with the 242 used in his 2004 experiment. If the article should turn out to have been fabricated, it would "give a black eye to science in general," Dr. Gearhart said.
Science, according to Aquinas, is a virtue of the intellect, which attempts to conform the intellect to reality. Lying does not serve science. However, this scientific research is immoral, since it involves the killing of human embryos.

Thanks go to Dr. Robert Onder—physician, bioethics lecturer, and good friend—for sending me this link.

NOTE: Here is the researcher's response to accusations of fraud, from Reuters: South Korean scientist denies faking cloning study.

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