In an interview yesterday (December 15) on the Korean national broadcaster MBC, Hwang's research collaborator and co-author, Sung Il Roh, said no patient-specific stem cells exist. "When I visited Hwang in hospital early this morning (Thursday), Hwang said there were no cloned embryonic stem cells at all," said Roh, head of infertility clinic Mizmedi Women's Hospital, in an interview quoted in the
"I have waited, thinking that Hwang would announce everything himself since only he is eligible to put a halt to all the suspicions,'' Roh said. "But I decided to go public because Hwang today made comments totally contrary to what we have believed is right. I need to clear away people's suspicion and anguish."
On another Korean television channel, Roh said 9 of 11 stem cell lines reported in the paper were faked, while two had been frozen and their current status was unknown.
According to a report from the
The Korean Times also quoted Wang-jae Lee at Seoul National University (SNU) as confirming Roh's claims. Lee was expected to lead the university's investigation panel into Hwang's research. "We already learned there are no embryonic stem cells and Prof. Ahn Cu-rie (Hwang's associate) also knows it. We can declare today as a day of national infamy," Lee said in the paper.
Questions about Hwang's work began to arise internationally in late November after an MBC program, PD Notebook, revealed ethical lapses in his work. His main US collaborator, Gerald Schatten, has since taken several steps to distance himself from the Korean researcher, culminating in a request to
Last week, Seoul National University began investigating allegations about Hwang's work.
Hwang could not be contacted by deadline.