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SNU: Stem Cells In 2004 Paper Were Fake

Posted December. 30, 2005 03:21,   


Following the findings that the patient-tailored stem cells claimed in the 2005 paper to be created by Seoul National University’s (SNU) Hwang Woo-suk and his team do not exist, an interim study result found that the DNA of the cloned embryos claimed in the 2004 paper also did not match those of the patients’ somatic cells.

This has raised the possibility that Hwang’s team does not have the original technology to make patient-tailored stem cells.

A SNU official said, “One outside institute reported that the number one stem cell line specified in the 2004 article does not have a patient-matched DNA,” and added, “The other two institutes’ investigations are highly likely to suggest similar outcomes.”

SNU had entrusted an investigation with the police and found the somatic cell donor, and commissioned an analysis after taking blood samples from the donor.

The investigation panel at the university, regarding the authenticity of the 2004 paper, plans to unveil its final conclusion after conducting studies both on the cells kept in the Korea Cell Line Bank at time of patent application of Hwang’s team, and the stem cells of SNU professor Moon Shin-yong, the co-author of the paper.

SNU research director Roh Jeong-hye announced on that day regarding the 2005 paper that “DNA analysis finds that all of the eight stem cell lines claimed by Hwang’s team to be patient-specific stem cells, including the number two and three stem cells, are ordinary stem cells from MizMedi Hospital that do not match patients’ stem cells.”

Roh said in the press conference, “The three independent institutes sent the findings that number two and three stem cells are number four and eight ordinary stem cells from MizMedi Hospital,” and added, “The six stem cell lines, including the frozen five mentioned by Hwang in a press conference on December 23, are also MizMedi Hospital’s cells and do not match donors’ stem cells.”

He also said, “The panel believes that no scientific data exists to prove Hwang’s claimed stem cells,” adding, “A sophisticated analysis must be conducted to prove to the world that ‘Snuppy,’ the cloned dog, is real. We are waiting for the findings of domestic institutes.”

Meanwhile, members of the panel are also divided over whether Hwang had any “original technology.”

The prevailing view is that there is no such technology as the stem cells of the 2004 and 2005 papers do not have patient-matched DNA, but some argue that the technology to make blastocysts, the prior state of stem cells, must be considered original technology. Hwang’s team currently has a patent on blastocyst-creating technology.

Se-Jin Jung Jin-Han Lee mint4a@donga.com likeday@donga.com