OrthodoxyToday.org
Commentary on social and moral issues of the day


Another Cloning "Breakthrough" -- The world's first phony stem cells

Wesley J. Smith

  • Print this page
  • Email this page
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Bookmark and Share

In February 2004, Woo--Suk Hwang made world headlines when he claimed to have cloned human embryos using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer, and then to have derived a line of stem cells from the embryos that could be used for medical research...

That problem seemed solved when, last May, Hwang published another article in Science asserting that he had again successfully cloned human embryos, this time deriving 11 stem cell lines and, moreover, reporting an astounding 10--fold increase in egg--use efficiency. Cloning proponents were giddy, declaring that the age of therapeutic cloning was nigh...

Then the roof caved in. In mid--November, Hwang's American research partner, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh, severed ties with him, complaining that the South Korean had purchased the human eggs used in his experiments-in violation of ethical canons requiring that they be donated-and lied about it....

Hwang's implosion leaves the field of human cloning research in a state of meltdown. Their poster boy is at best a liar, at worst a fraud and a charlatan who never created human clones at all.

This debacle raises several interesting questions: What does it tell us about the thoroughness of the peer review process? Why were younger South Korean scientists able to discover Hwang's missteps when the presumably more seasoned peer reviewers for Science failed? Will the American media take a cue from their courageous counterparts in South Korea, who pursued this story until it cracked, and finally bring skepticism to their coverage of biotechnology? More to the point, will the adult/umbilical cord blood stem cell successes that have emerged one after the other in recent years finally receive the attention they deserve in the mainstream press, which has been so intoxicated with embryonic research as virtually to ignore nonembryonic breakthroughs?

Read the entire article on the Weekly Standard website (new window will open).

Posted: 14-Jan-06



Copyright 2001-2014 OrthodoxyToday.org. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article is subject to the policy of the individual copyright holder. Follow copyright link for details.
Copyright 2001-2014 OrthodoxyToday.org. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article is subject to the policy of the individual copyright holder. See OrthodoxyToday.org for details.


Article link: