Posted December. 22, 2005 03:02,
The Seoul National University investigation committee that is currently verifying cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suks research results summoned MizMedi Hospital Chief Roh Sung-Il, a co-author of the controversial 2005 paper published in Science magazine, Moon Shin-yong, a professor at SNU Medical College, and Han Hak-soo from the MBC show PD Notebook yesterday for questioning.
The panel reportedly grilled Roh about the controversy over Hwangs patient-specific stem cells being replaced with stem cells from MizMedi Hospital, how he provided Hwangs team with egg cells and the specific time period of the controversial events. On top of that, the panel reportedly brought Hwang face to face with Roh in an attempt to get to the bottom of the storm of this national controversy.
The panel appears to have a grasp of whether patient-tailored stem cells really exist as Hwang claims and the authenticity of Hwangs controversial paper after investigating key figures involved in Hwangs research results, including a four-hour probe into Yoon Hyeon-su, a professor at the Medical College of Hanyang University, on December 20.
The panel decided to commission three outside expert institutes to analyze DNA fingerprints as soon as it finalizes the extraction of samples from stem cells currently being cultivated by Hwangs team.
We asked an official with the National Institute of Scientific Investigations branch in Jangseong County, South Jeolla Province, who conducted DNA fingerprint analysis for Hwangs team in 2005, to have an interview with us, and also asked Hanyang University to arrange interviews with professors related to Hwangs research results, said the panel.
After arriving at the Veterinary College of SNU around 9:45 a.m. yesterday, Hwang was grilled by the panel again.
The committee put off its interim probe announcement scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on December 22 to 11:00 a.m. on December 23.
In the aftermath of this controversy, it was confirmed yesterday that foreign-based scientific journals, including Nature and Science, have launched verification processes of all Hwangs teams papers published in them.
Last week, Nature asked Lee Byeong-cheon, a professor at the Veterinary College of SNU, to send cloned dog Snuppys mitochondria DNA and its father dogs mitochondria DNA once the SNU fact-finding committee confirms them.
In response, SNU professor Kim Min-gyu, who took part in the Snuppy research project, said, I will send all kinds of material pertaining to Snuppys research to Nature in order to be confirmed. I am full of confidence in verifying it.
When University of Pittsburgh Professor Gerald Schatten, a co-author of the paper, asked Hwangs team to send Snuppys mitochondria DNA materials around June, Hwangs team did not send them.
In addition, Science announced officially on December 20 that it was probing into the authenticity of one of Hwangs papers published in its journal in 2004 in which Hwang claimed that he succeeded in establishing human embryonic stem cells for the first time in the world.
Meanwhile, the University of Pittsburgh said, Schatten asked Hwangs team to send $200,000 under the pretext of research expenses on projects this September, but he was not actually paid by Hwangs team.