Human embryo cloning, stem cell research--and journalism--in Korea

An entirely appropriate stew of scientific vexation and mortification has accompanied revelations that the incredible Korean achievements in human embryonic cloning and stem cell research are exactly that: incredible. But midst the hand-wringing over failures of peer review--and justified alarm over the future of human embryo clones and stem cell research--an intriguing fact has been obscured. Woo Suk Hwang would still be a rock-star equivalent, and frustrated researchers would still be trying

Tabitha M. Powledge
Jan 4, 2006
An entirely appropriate stew of scientific vexation and mortification has accompanied revelations that the incredible Korean achievements in human embryonic cloning and stem cell research are exactly that: incredible. But midst the hand-wringing over failures of peer review--and justified alarm over the future of human embryo clones and stem cell research--an intriguing fact has been obscured. Woo Suk Hwang would still be a rock-star equivalent, and frustrated researchers would still be trying to replicate his reported lab successes, if he hadn't been outed by journalists--and television journalists at that.Yes, this monumental scientific fraud was not initially disclosed by the journals that published Hwang's cloning and stem cell papers, or the reviewers, or regulators, or ethics committees--all those scientific institutions that should be bulwarks against fraud of this magnitude. Disclosure happened because reporters for the South Korean TV network MBC got a tip and pursued it vigorously. (Too vigorously, it...

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