Go to contents

Scholar Won’t Say Why Partnership Ended

Posted November. 16, 2005 08:23,   


Gerald Schatten, a professor of University of Pittsburg who announced the ending of his partnership with Hwang Woo-suk’s team, said on November 14 that he received information suggesting that there was a problem with the process of obtaining eggs for Hwang’s team, but he cannot reveal the information.

Jane Duffield, a publicist from the University of Pittsburgh Health Science Schools, answered to the interview request from Dong-A Ilbo by sending a statement in the names of professor Schatten and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as above, and said that professor Schatten will not have interviews with both the Korean press and the American press for the time being.

An official of professor Schatten’s lab avoided an interview request, saying, “All press contacts should be through the University’s Public Information Office.”

Professor Schatten said in an official statement, "Regrettably, on November 11, information came to my attention suggesting that misrepresentation may have occurred regarding Hwang`s team obtainment of eggs for its research activities, and I contacted the academics and the regulating authorities on this information. Thereby, I ended the partnership with Hwang’s team.”

He refused to unveil “the information” in detail, saying, “Such information requires confidentiality.” He also avoided mentioning the source of the information.

Schatten added that aside from the issue of the eggs acquisition, a customized stem cell research report by Hwang’s team contained some errors, and he reported to “Science” magazine to correct the errors, stating that it was an honest error and will not affect the research results.

Furthermore, Schatten said that regardless of ending the partnership, his conviction that the research results of Hwang’s team are an important discovery in this field didn’t waver at all.

Regarding this, the Wall Street Journal reported on November 14 that this incident has sparked an ethical controversy surrounding eggs acquisition.

It is highly likely that cloning research in the U.S., which has been struggling with ethical issues and various regulations, will suffer a blow if the allegation regarding Hwang’s team turns out to be true.

Professor Hyun In-su of Case Western Reserve University stressed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that as Schatten’s allegation is shocking, he has to provide additional evidence in order to prove his claim.

Jong sik Kong kong@donga.com