Hwang ghost appears at stem cell conference

The spectre of linkurl:Hwang Woo-Suk;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53277/ has raised its head a couple of times at the annual meeting of the linkurl:International Society for Stem Cell Research;http://www.isscr.org/meetings in Cairns, Australia. On Monday, incoming ISSCR president George Daley, from Children's Hospital Boston, was describing the potential value of deriving stem cells parthenogenetically when he mentioned the name which pricks up everyone's ears. Daley said that ana

By | June 19, 2007

The spectre of linkurl:Hwang Woo-Suk;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53277/ has raised its head a couple of times at the annual meeting of the linkurl:International Society for Stem Cell Research;http://www.isscr.org/meetings in Cairns, Australia. On Monday, incoming ISSCR president George Daley, from Children's Hospital Boston, was describing the potential value of deriving stem cells parthenogenetically when he mentioned the name which pricks up everyone's ears. Daley said that analysis of the patterns of centromeric homozygocity in Hwang's cells revealed that they were actually derived from a parthenote, not by linkurl:somatic cell nuclear transfer;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53224/ . Hwang really was the first to do this, Daley told a big crowd at the meeting--which means the South Korean did achieve a world-first, just not the one he said he'd achieved. The shadow of Hwang fell again later in the day, for me at least, when linkurl:Shoukhrat Mitalipov;http://onprc.ohsu.edu/discovery/dspScientistsItem.cfm?doc_id=126 from the Oregon National Primate Research Center took the stage for a last minute addition to the program. His talk described how his group had created embryonic stem cells from primates via SCNT, a challenge that has so far stumped other groups around the world. The report generated some excitement among delegates and was pretty much the only news to make it into the wider media from the meeting on Tuesday morning. After all, the ability to make cloned primate stem cells would represent the leaping of an important technological hurdle. But in the post-Hwang era, stem cell scientists are aware of the risks of hype. Mitalipov didn't make himself available to talk to reporters after his talk, and in fact seems to have vanished from the conference altogether. It seems we will have to wait until the work is published to learn the full details of how they did it, which in light of everything probably is not a bad thing.

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