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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More Korean Cloning Claims

A South Korean scientific team led by Lee Byeong-Chun, a former collaborator of disgraced scientist, Hwang Woo-suk, claims to have cloned wolves. They claim to have cloned two wolves - one named Snuwolf and another named Snuwolffy. The matter is being investigated by authorities from the university which sponsors the team.

A few years back, Hwang Woo-suk, something of a scientific "rock star," claimed to have successfully cloned a dog. His claims, research, and program were discovered to be fake and he was publicly disgraced. The wolf cloning team is suspected of using false data to inflate their claims.
The team gave incorrect details in a table analysing the mitochondrial DNA sequence of the wolves and their surrogate mother dogs. Seoul National University's Committee on Research Integrity has secured blood and cell samples from the animals for testing. The university says it was notified about the possible fraud by a source they refused to identify.

Lee's team has successfully cloned dogs in the past, so there may be room for inadvertent errors in the data, even if that data inflates their success rate. Hwang is facing fraud, embezzlement, and ethics charges.

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