October 7, 2022

KOREAN COME-BACK KID

Disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk is making a quiet return to scientific research, even though he is still in the middle of a trial over faked articles in Science, embezzlement and bioethics violations. With the help of an unknown financial backer, he has shifted to a new lab about 50 kilometres south of Seoul and is working on animal cloning with the help of about 30 researchers. He hopes to return to human therapeutic cloning eventually.

Koreans are split over Hwang. Some feel that he is a victim and that the real culprit is his former associate Kim Sun-jong. Others think that he was brought down by American researchers who were jealous of his success. Professor Park Se-pill, of Cheju National University, does not agree with either theory, but admires his competence and want to see him back in the lab. “Hwang and his men have unrivalled technologies for cloning,” he told the Korea Times. “Korea should not scrap that know-how for the benefit of the country and the world.”