November 24, 2005

Human cloning pioneer confesses to breaking ethical code

Woo Suk Hwang, of Seoul National University, has confirmed that two junior researchers in his laboratory had donated their eggs for his groundbreaking experiments in human cloning.
"I am very sorry that I have to tell the public words that are too shameful and horrible," Professor Hwang said at a press conference in Seoul. He also said he would step down as head of the World Stem Cell Hub, an international research network based in Seoul that also has laboratories in San Francisco and London.

Professor Hwang's team cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them.
They went on to clone patient-specific embryos and stem cells this year. Professor Hwang also cloned the first dog, Snuppy, announced this year.

Cloning raises a number of significant ethical issues, of which this is just one.

In the meantime the rational is disappearing for human cloning as a source of stem cells to fight disease, as scientists learn more about the potential of adult stem cells.