Stem Cell Ethics of Science and Politics

This has become the most controversial issue in South Korea.

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 12, 2005; Page A02

A leading University of Pittsburgh researcher on embryonic stem cells said yesterday that he will disengage from a recently launched collaboration with a team of world-renowned South Korean scientists because he is convinced that the lead Korean researcher had engaged in ethical breaches and lied to him about them.

The Pitt scientist, Gerald P. Schatten, has for more than a year been the prime American stem cell scientist working with the South Korean researcher, Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul National University. Hwang was featured prominently in news reports in 2004 when he and his co-workers became the first to grow human embryonic stem cells from cloned human embryos. Since then, he has become something of a national hero and a global scientific celebrity.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korean cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk publicly apologized Thursday for ethics lapses, admitting two female scientists in his lab donated their own eggs for research, in a setback for the work that has raised worldwide hopes it could help find cures for untreatable diseases.

Scientific American 50: Research Leader of the Year
By Aimee Cunningham

Woo Suk Hwang

Seoul National University This Korean researcher racked up a series of important advances in embryonic stem cell technology, including the first lines of cells from patients

While political debate over stem cells continues, the science has made tremendous strides during the past 18 months. In the frenzy of activity, Woo Suk Hwang has stood out for the impact his team from Seoul National University has had on the still nascent field. Hwang has achieved remarkable progress in a short period.

Hwang’s successes add urgency to many ethical considerations, and the specter of reproductive cloning attempts by fringe scientists lingers (Hwang emphatically denounces such research). But if a time does come when therapeutic cloning becomes the gold standard of care for a variety of diseases, Hwang’s innovative and groundbreaking explorations will have paved the way.

Here in Missouri,USA will be the 1st state to vote. The are stipulations on the law. No cloning of humans.

Very different political systems you have in the States from South Korea which is still closer to the typical totalitarian state of the emerging industrializing era. To vote on such a matter on a “state” level… sounds so strange, but then I have always supported dictatorship. :slight_smile:

Dictatorship is alot like prison here.

You mean dictatorship in the US is like prisons in the US or dictatorship in North Korea or Cuba is like prisons in the US? I meant dictatorship where individuals don’t exist as life forms or independent minds.

Stem Cell research isn’t necessarily human cloning.

Either way … I’m not touching this debate with a 100foot pole.

Mr. Hwang publicly said he was going to clone apes after his successful dog cloning. People naturally assumed next candidates were to be humans.

Dog Cloned by South Korean Scientists

Maryann Mott
for National Geographic News

August 3, 2005
South Korean scientists at Seoul National University’s College of Veterinary Medicine have beaten a U.S. company in the race to produce the world’s first successful dog clone.

The male Afghan hound puppy, named Snuppy (short for Seoul National University puppy), was born on April 24. A second dog clone died of pneumonia shortly after it was born in May.

Cloning by nuclear transfer is nothing new. The technique was first reported in frogs in 1952. Since then a barnyard’s worth of animals has been duplicated, including pigs, goats, mules, horses, and rats. It is believed that the method could also be used to clone humans.

Hwang says the university has no plans to produce dogs for individual owners. Instead, his future research plans involve treating hereditary disorders in dogs as well as studying human genetic diseases and certain canine diseases.

“Eventually, our cloning technology may be utilized for cloning service animals, such as guide dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs,” he said. “Perhaps this cloning technology could even be applied to the preservation of endangered species.”

I never posted about this on a South Korean forum because it’s too hot making everyone very emotional including the president. Hwang himself openly said he wanted to kill himself.

BBC version.

When the medical journal Nature pressed Dr Hwang in 2004 about the origin of the eggs, he denied they had been donated by his own researchers.

At a press conference on Thursday he admitted he had not told the truth.

Dr Hwang said when two women on his team offered their own eggs he turned them down.

Later, the women donated their eggs under false names, without his permission.

When asked about this he investigated, and was told about the provenance of the eggs, but lied to Nature because of a “strong request by the researchers to protect their privacy”, he said.

The revelations have shaken fellow scientists.

“We are saddened by the confusion that has arisen in Korea and the distress that has been caused to those concerned,” said British professors Ian Wilmut and Christopher Shaw.

There are no international laws governing the use of cells and embryos, but scientists said a tough regulatory climate - like that in force in the UK - could prevent such abuses or misunderstandings.

“The excellent research carried out by Hwang and his team must continue, but in a way that considers the ethics in an appropriate way,” said Prof Robin Lovell-Badge of the UK’s National Institute for Medical Research.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but to date, most cloning attempts have taken DNA/RNA strands from a mature host, & injected it into a surrogate egg.

The resultant clones at a very young age have been affected by genetic disorders & diseases which traditionally affect only mature creatures. Effectively, the newborn (?:confused:?) clone is prematurely aged.

I’ll point out that back at uni, fellow students were always cutting and pasting snippets of my (working project) C++ code into their programs, not understanding exactly how it worked, in the vain hope that if they did it enough, it would work.
Of course, my programming was structured differently from the majority of others, since everyone’s programming style is unique, and their resultant hybrid programs failed miserably.

Just rambling of course … but I see a vague parallel here.

I see a parallel here.

Sorry i misunderstood. Yes i feel that dictatorship (N. Korea,old Iraq)would be like prison in USA.

Many things happened during the last week. MBC of South Korea has apologized on a MBC TV news to the public for what they have done to Hwang’s researchers. They lied and threatened them. Most of the things that made headlines on so many US and UK news media were based on what MBC engineered, but it seems none outside South Korea is interested anymore. It was a national pride issue at first. Later, it seemed like something like a loss of trillion-dollar business. Lots of people, out of frustration, just urged researchers and sciences in South Korea to go to the USA where they can just do what they want to do. Now, it has become a war on the friends of North Korean communism-nationalism such as MBC, Hangeirye, Omynews, Presian, Roh Mu Hyun (the current president), and so on. Hwang team says the apology was unsatisfactory. MBC is the second largest broadcasting company in South Korea. Including myself, most people here probably know nothing about the behind stories.

Anyone? :slight_smile:

[I]Stem Cell Fakery Admitted

Korean researcher will retract ground-breaking paper after revealing some stem cell cultures were not real.

– David Brown[/I]

Dr. Hwang and Roh of Miz Medi are accusing each other of lying.

My wife has told me in this evening that the Miz Medi administrator is a relative of hers.

Getting even more confusing. It now seems Samsung group family has been into the industry. Miz Medi’s Roh Sung Il is the son of the founder of Samsung Jeil hospital, one of the most prestigious and advanced hospitals in South Korea (since Samsung funds them.) Miz Media has made a US$100 million contract with Medi Post to create a stem cell research center and Medi Post is owned by Bo Gwang group whose largest owner is the brother of Lee Gun Hee’s wife. Lee Gun Hee is the richest South Korean and is the president of Samsung group of US$130 billion yearly revenues. Right before all the media exposures of Hwang’s stem cell stories, all TV and newspaper headlines were filled with Samsung group’s illegal and immoral practices about the ownership and management of the group which is very much like what Kim Il Sung did with Kim Jung Il and what Kim Jung Il is now doing with his own son meaning Lee Gun Hee has been trying to let his son get the whole group for nearly free. After the Hwang’s egg cell headlines, most of the news talks about Samsung group disappeared.

Just one of the many “consipiracy theories” appearing on all web boards in South Korea. Frankly, South Korea does not have the political and economic infrastructure to have such hi-tech industries because it is still very new to democracy and Western values of individualism, free press, liberty, fraternity, human rights, dignity for all, and so on. Countries like Costa Rica and Cuba have better moral systems though they don’t have the amount of capital available to Samsung and the South Korean government. It’s also so easy for almost anyone from Japan or US or China to bribe a very high official inside the Ministry of Defense of the South Korean government or the many thousands of semiconductor researchers at Samsung or LG.


Looks like Hwang Woo-suk was lying >

Everyone was.

Still at least the Dog is a real clone from what I heard.

That’s also what I heard.

But I meant everyone was lying on TV and interviews by which I meant everyone was not always entirely honest. Especially those who accused Hwang for years to months often changed their own words. In the end, only one thing seemed like the truth: nobody was clean whether related to Samsung or not, whether related to the US interest or not, whether directed by the South Korean government or not.

For example:

So he got 38 million US dollars, or not? What he really received, according to some other South Korean reports, seemed like far less than 5 million. All of this started as a political event whose players have to flatter the public while attracting more profit potentials. In the end, only Samsung seemed to win. The government and the public somehow always let Samsung alone without ever being seriously punished. Chun Doo Hwan destroyed Guk Je group in the early 1980s. Gim Dae Joong disintegrated Dae Woo group and made the boss Gim Woo Joong flee the country around 2000. But no one was bold enough to destroy Samsung because South Korea’s future depends on Samsung too deeply and too far.

Missouri will vote this November. I am a registered voter :iagree: