News
 International
   Global Views
   Asia-Pacific
   America
   Europe
   Middle East & Africa
 National
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Business
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Taekwondo
 Media
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Life
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Housing
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 Job
 English Teaching
 Translation/Writing
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Business
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Entertainment
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Community
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 PenPal/Friendship
 Volunteers
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  America
World's media pay attention to Prof. Hwang's case
Korean Scientists Likely to Face Tighter Scrutiny
NYT Editorially Reports Prof. Hwang's Cloning Crisis
Prof. Hwang Woo-Suk of Seoul National University

Next breakthrough by South Korea's stem cell researchers will be subject to heavy scrutiny because of the trust lost from Dr. Hwang Woo-suk's debacle, the New York Times (NYT) said in an editorial titled "South Korea's Cloning Crisis" on Dec. 4, 2005.

Evidence so far is that Hwang's achievements were real, it said in an "But science is an enterprise that relies heavily on trust. The Koreans should not be surprised if their next scientific breakthrough its greeted with extreme caution," Yonhap News quoted NYT editorial as having said.

Hwang and his research team became the first scientists to extract stem cells from human embryos, a feat that opened possibilities to growing individually-tailored cells to treat diseases until now considered incurable.

But Hwang, after continued suspicions and allegations, admitted that his team had accepted eggs donated from junior researchers, a practice considered unethical and by Western standards.

The ethical questioned led Hwang's U.S. collaborator, Dr. Gerald Schatten of University of Pittsburgh, to sever ties with the South Korean team.

"But what really torpedoed Dr. Hwang was the cover-up: his repeated lies to the effect that his eggs were donated by unpaid volunteers," the editorial said.

"The key unresolved issue is whether lying about egg donations suggests that the Korean team may have lied about its scientific results. So far there is no evidence of that," it said.

The following is the full text of the NYT editorial on Prof. Hwang's case.

NYT Editorial
South Korea's Cloning Crisis
Published: December 4, 2005

South Korea's high-flying stem cell researchers - reputedly the best in the world at cloning - have stumbled badly in handling the ethical issues of their controversial craft. Worse yet, the research team's leader, a national hero in his homeland, lied in an effort to hide his ethical lapses. We can only hope that he has not also lied about the astonishing scientific achievements of his research team.

The South Korean team forged ahead of all its rivals by becoming the first to extract stem cells from cloned human embryos and the first to clone a dog, an enormously difficult feat. The team felt so confident in its skills that it even announced plans to open laboratories in the United States and England to create embryonic stem cell lines for researchers unable or reluctant to do so themselves.

Then came the ethics debacle. For the experiments, Dr. Hwang Woo Suk used eggs donated by two of his junior researchers, a practice forbidden by Western standards because there is no way a subordinate's donation can be truly voluntary when her job and her standing with colleagues may depend on her cooperation. One of his collaborators also paid some 20 other Korean women about $1,400 apiece for their eggs. That, too, is deplored by many Western ethicists who fear such payments inevitably exploit poor women desperate for money.

How harshly Dr. Hwang should be judged for such transgressions is a matter of dispute. Supporters claim that he was unaware of these transactions, which were legal at the time and whose ethical status was murky. Some American researchers also pay women for donating eggs, although the National Academy of Sciences has recommended against such payments. But what really torpedoed Dr. Hwang was the cover-up: his repeated lies to the effect that his eggs were donated by unpaid volunteers. These misrepresentations led his most prominent American collaborator to sever ties because his trust had been shaken.

Ten days ago, Dr. Hwang apologized for lying and stepped down as head of his new research center, although he will continue his pioneering work as a researcher. In South Korea, the public has rallied to his defense and women there are signing up in droves to donate eggs. South Korea seems to be emerging from the crisis by imposing even stricter egg donation standards than apply in this country.

The key unresolved issue is whether lying about egg donations suggests that the Korean team may have lied about its scientific results. So far there is no evidence of that. Indeed, American collaborators and observers remain confident that the team's achievements were real. But science is an enterprise that relies heavily on trust. The Koreans should not be surprised if their next scientific breakthrough is greeted with extreme caution.



Related Articles
    Gerald Schatten Sought by Seoul Prosecution
    All Prof. Hwang's Stem Cells Found to Be Fake
    What Makes Some Scientists Cheat?
    S. Korea Faces Blow to Stem-Cell Prowess
    Prof. Hwang Admits Fabricating Stem Cell Study
    MBC Quest for Truth Foiled in Harsh Attack
    MBC TV Offers Apology for Improper Approach
    Prof. Hwang Cancels Press Conference
    Stem-cell Brothers Divide on Egg-donation Issue
    Prof. Hwang’s Team Successfully Clones Dog


 

back

 

 

 

The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Email:seoultimes@gmail.com
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange