South-Korean investigators have decided: the results of the studies carried out by cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk are fabricated.
Following the release of the report on the veracity of the research, the Seoul National University panel said it was "intentionally fabricated" and that Dr. Hwang would be disciplined, BBC informed.
"I sincerely apologize to the people for creating a shock and disappointment. As a symbol of apology, I step down as professor of Seoul National University," Woo-suk said, adding that the results
are not fabricated.
But I'd like to repeat patient-tailored embryonic stem cells are South Korean technology. All of you will confirm it."
Some researchers have manifested their shock when hearing about this incident and said that science has to be based on trust.
"It is a heartbreaking turn for science and Korea. Without trust, we just cannot imagine science. This is utterly unacceptable", Laurie Zoloth, a specialist in bioethics for Northwestern University, told Reuters by telephone.
The article on Hwang Woo-suk's results published in the Science journal showed how individual stem cell colonies were created for 11 patients through cloning, this discovery being regarded by the scientific community as a great step forward towards treating hard to cure conditions.
Hwang Woo-suk, 53, became a target for criticisms after admitting last month that he used eggs from some of his researchers, a practice condemned by the scientific community.
The South-Korean government has financed Hwang Woo-suk's researches with $24.7 million.
The embryonic stem cells' potential is almost infinite, the cells having the potential to grow into all derivatives of the three primary germ layers: ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm. In other words, they can develop into each of the more than 200 cell types of the adult body, becoming in this way the key to regenerative medicine.