Disgraced scientist unveils cloned coyotes

2011-10-17 13:03
Coyotes claimed to be cloned by disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk and his team are shown at a farm in Pyeongtaek, Seoul. (Shin Young-keun, Yohap, AP)

Coyotes claimed to be cloned by disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk and his team are shown at a farm in Pyeongtaek, Seoul. (Shin Young-keun, Yohap, AP)

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Seoul - Disgraced South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-Suk unveiled eight cloned coyotes on Monday in a project sponsored by a provincial government.

Hwang delivered the clones to a wild animal shelter at Pyeongtaek, 50km south of Seoul, in a ceremony chaired by Gyeonggi province governor Kim Moon-Soo, Kim's office said.

Hwang was a national hero until some of his research into creating human stem cells from a cloned embryo was found to be faked.

But his work in creating Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, in 2005 has been verified by experts and authorities.

Under a joint project with the province to clone wild animals, Hwang took cells from the skin of a coyote, Kim's office said in a statement.

Fame

He transplanted their nuclei into a dog's eggs from which the canine nucleus had been removed, it said, adding the first clone was born on June 17.

In a Twitter message, the governor praised Hwang for what he called the world's first use of such a technique. "The cloning of an African wild dog is under way, and we will attempt to clone a mammoth in the future," Kim said.

South Korean experts have previously cloned animals including a cow, a cat, dogs, a pig and a wolf. The cloned wolf died in 2009.

Hwang shot to fame in 2004 when he published a paper in the US journal Science claiming to have created the world's first stem cell line from a cloned human embryo.

But his reputation was tarnished in November 2005 by allegations that he had violated medical ethics by accepting human eggs from his own researchers.

In January 2006, an investigative team ruled that his findings were faked and said he had produced no stem cells of any kind.

In 2009, Hwang received a two-year suspended sentence for embezzling research funds and ethical lapses in obtaining human eggs. Last December an appeals court reduced the penalty to an 18-month suspended sentence.

- SAPA

Read more on:    stem cell research
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