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Hwang Denies All Allegations Against Him
Dr. Hwang Woo Suk defends himself saying he has been framed
Terence Mitchell (terence)     Print Article 
Published 2006-01-01 09:38 (KST)   
The interview with Hwang appears on the hompage of Bopbo
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo Suk, who has been indicted of faking his research data on human cloning, yesterday denied he had any involvement in doctoring data in his famous paper on human embryo cloning, published in May 2005 in the journal Science.

In an interview published in Bobpo, Korea's main Buddhist newspaper, the Seoul National University Professor broke his two-week public silence regarding the allegations of fraud being leveled at him by the science community and media at large.

Hwang seemed to be back to his usual relaxed and talkative self during the interview, seemingly oblivious to the hard evidence presently being produced by his university that he was directly responsible for faked data discovered in his research article.

Regarding accusations that he had deliberately pretended normal stem cells were actually derived from cloned embryos, Hwang stated "In my opinion somebody has obviously switched the cells쫒t could only have been done by an expert쫆nd it had been planned at least several months in advance."

This has been seen as Hwang's main line of defense, since he has already filed charges against one his lab assistants, Kim Sun Chong, for attempting to frame him.

Kim is believed to have first alerted the media of abnormalities in Hwang's research, and his interview with MBC journalists a month ago, in which he claimed Hwang had ordered him directly to fake photos of stem cells for Science article, was perhaps the main reason SNU began their investigation.

"I am sure that as the police investigation regarding the switching of cells begins, it will take only a few days before people will know the real truth," Hwang explained in the interview.

Prof. Hwang also referred in the interview to the consequences of the "fake cloning" scandal. "I am sure that we only need to redo the experiments to show that we (Korean scientists) do have the skills to clone human embryos and take healthy stem cells from them, but my worry is that now, due to the effects of this scandal, our competitive edge will be lost to overseas competition."

Yesterday Science Magazine announced that they would in fact be retracting the article in question from their magazine, with or without the 15 authors' permission. One co-editor at the paper also explained that they were "worried about the 2004 paper," in which Hwang first claimed he had cloned human embryos.

Some Korean scientists have claimed recently that this paper also contains fake photos, and that the article's data is very similar to that in an article published on stem cell research that did not involve cloning.

The Korean Prosecution Agency meanwhile have stated they intend to begin criminal proceedings against Hwang for fraud, but are currently are waiting for the SNU investigation to wrap up.
OhmyNews reporter Sun Byung Gwan contributed to this article.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Terence Mitchell

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