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  • Cloning deception may slow research

    first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake A disgraced Hwang Woo-suk resigned from Seoul National University on Friday after the school said the researcher fabricated groundbreaking cloning and stem-cell research that had raised hopes of new cures for hard-to-treat diseases. When Hwang published findings in February 2004 and again in May, it was believed he had developed a new cloning method that enabled him to accomplish something no one else had. Hwang chalked up much of the success to South Korean government support and dedicated researchers working around the clock. He also credited his workers’ dexterity with chopsticks; stem cell researchers visited from around the world and rushed back to their labs to try the new technique. The journal Science said it would retract the May paper and investigate Hwang’s 2004 paper that claimed the first cloned human embryo. “It’s a stain on the honor and integrity of the whole field,” said Robert Lanza, a cloning expert at the biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology. “It has sent a lot of scientists on a wild goose chase and down false paths.” Stem cells are created in the first days after conception and mature into every cell in the human body. Scientist hope to use stem cells as replacement parts for failing organs and to treat diabetes, Parkinson’s and other diseases. Researchers want to harvest stem cells by cloning the DNA of sick people, so they could turn the cells into tissue that genetically matches a patient. That way, the patient wouldn’t have to take the anti-rejection drugs used in organ transplants today. Also, researchers hope to use cloned stem cells to study how diseases begin and develop. No researcher in the United States is known to be actively trying to a clone a human embryo, though two teams at Harvard University have asked school officials for permission. Doug Melton, who leads one of the Harvard cloning projects, vowed Friday that the work will continue despite the scandal.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN FRANCISCO – Scientists fretted Friday that a spectacular cloning fraud that hid in plain sight has set back legitimate stem cell work around the world. Cloning experts and stem cell scientists said research in the potentially revolutionary field of regenerative medicine will continue unabated. But they said public confidence in their work had been weakened by a sham branded by experts as the most visible case of scientific fraud they could recall. Scientists also struggled to explain how they didn’t earlier catch the charismatic South Korean veterinarian’s claim in a Science paper published in May that he cloned 11 human embryos to produce stem cells. “That’s a difficult one,” said Keith Campbell, the University of Nottingham researcher who helped clone Dolly the sheep in 1997. “Scientists are asked to referee a lot of papers and to a certain extent we have to believe each other as to the validity of the data.”last_img read more