The Report on Korean Stem Cell Research

Since I commented on this episode of faked science from the laboratory of Woo Suk Hwang a few weeks ago, I should probably point you towards the summary of the investigative report. It goes some way towards showing where science presently stands on the road towards personalized regenerative toolkits and the reliable manipulation - and creation - of embryonic stem cells.

I should repeat the thesis of my last post: all too many people look at events of this sort and see failure of the scientific system. On the contrary, this is the sign of success - a high-profile example of the ruthlessness of the scientific community when faced with misrepresentation. No-one stands above the scientific method; careers are torn down and scientists ostracised regardless of status when fraud is uncovered. A pity that policitians do not reliably suffer the same fate for their misdeeds.

However, that the publications are fabricated alone mandates a severe penalty by the academia. These individuals cannot be regarded to represent science in Korea. We have numerous well-qualified researchers whose works are globally recognized, and we also have a world-class research capability in biological sciences that will ensure a successful partaking in the field of stem cell biology. Our judgment is thus that the scandalous case of Woo Suk Hwang and cloned ES cells will not have a large impact on the effort of the scientific community in Korea. Rather, we are certain that this learning experience will be a stepping stone for better execution and management of scientific research and contribute to scientific advancement in this country. The young scientists who courageously pointed out the fallacy and precipitated the initiation of this investigation are our hope for the future.

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