Hwang heads back to the bench

The remarkable tale of linkurl:disgraced;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23432/ South Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk has taken another startling twist. It turns out he?s planning to open his own lab in Seoul next month, using private money to do conduct linkurl:animal cloning;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22746/ and perhaps human embryonic stem cell research. Nobody will need reminding of Hwang?

By | June 28, 2006

The remarkable tale of linkurl:disgraced;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23432/ South Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk has taken another startling twist. It turns out he?s planning to open his own lab in Seoul next month, using private money to do conduct linkurl:animal cloning;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22746/ and perhaps human embryonic stem cell research. Nobody will need reminding of Hwang?s high-profile woes. Once a national hero, he was forced to leave his post at Seoul National University late last year amid accusations of linkurl:ethical lapses;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22843/ and fabricated data. He has also been charged with linkurl:fraud;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/22933/ and embezzlement. Hwang?s lawyer has painted the latest move in a humble light. "It is Dr. Hwang's belief that the only way to reclaim his honor and repay the people who have helped him, and win their forgiveness, is to produce accomplishments in research," he told linkurl:Reuters;http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2006-06-27T105301Z_01_SEO109483_RTRIDST_0_SCIENCE-SCIENCE-KOREA-DC.XML over the telephone. The plan is to hire a lot of the scientists who had previously worked with Hwang, he said. The big question, of course, is whether Hwang will be able to convince any journal in the world to publish future work. "There will be a lot of people in the scientific world who will vilify him for this," said Stephen Minger, a stem cell researcher from King?s College London, "but there?s a lot of expertise in his lab that I would hate to see wasted." "I?m sure he will put himself up for the most stringent scrutiny that any scientist has," Minger added, "and everyone does deserve a second chance." Either way, it seems safe to say that journal editors will be looking at any future work Hwang produces rather more closely than they have in the past.

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