Two South Korean
investigations of Hwang Woo-Suk have found that the discredited
researcher used many more eggs than he had acknowledged, that many
of the women who provided the eggs suffered adverse reactions, and
that the ethical breaches committed were more serious than previously
groups at a press conference
paper was heralded in part because it claimed that the number of
eggs needed to produce a cloned embryo was much lower than had previously
been believed. But a panel at Seoul National University (SNU) found
that Hwang's lab actually used a very large number of themó2,061
eggs from a total of 129 women. According to reports in South Korean
20% of these women developed ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
from the hormonal drugs used in the process. More
than 12% were treated in a hospital, and two were hospitalized
for additional care.
women's rights groups and progressive legislators host hearing on
eggs for research
Korean liberals are criticizing the conservative administration
for lavishing funds on Hwang without properly monitoring his activities.
groups held press conferences to protest the government's failure
to protect women who provide the eggs for cloning research, and
co-sponsored a forum with the ruling liberal Uri Party and the social
democratic Democratic Labor Party on the need for effective regulation
to protect women's health.
CGS has received
an exclusive translated summary of this forum from an observer.
According to the summary, DLP Congresswoman Choi Soon-young said
the protection of women's rights to control their bodies and protect
their health is fundamental to the process of providing eggs for
research, and promised to take action in the National Assembly.
researchers coerced to provide eggs for cloning research
The SNU panel
also found that Hwang himself had accompanied two junior researchers
on his team to the hospital for the egg extraction procedure. One
of them, Park Eul-soon, was pressured
by Hwang to undergo the procedure because she spilled
an egg sample in the lab. According to another news report,
she was offered co-authorship of the cloning paper in exchange for
A second panel,
convened by Korea's National Bioethics Commission, found that Hwang's
research team did not properly inform women about the health risks
involved in the egg extraction procedure and cited the team for
ethical lapses. The Ministry of Health is investigating the four
hospitals involved with the research, and the Commission will recommend
a criminal investigation if its conclusions are validated.
researchers jump into a new "cloning race" with adds soliciting
after it was confirmed that Hwang's claims were completely fraudulent,
a number of researchers indicated that they would redouble
their own efforts to be the first to clone a human embryo. Advanced
Cell Technologies' Robert Lanza, for example, told a reporter
that "the race is back on." By early January, ACT
had begun advertising for women to "be part of the cure"
by providing their eggs.
scandal reverberates in California
California, the Sacramento
Bee reported that concern about the ethical violations in
South Korea may generate increased support to Senator Ortiz in her
effort to pass a new measure to protect women who provide eggs for
research by ensuring meaningful informed consent, restricting payment
for eggs beyond expenses, and encouraging research on the health
risks of the egg extraction procedure. An earlier version of the
bill passed the House and Senate with large margins, but was vetoed
by Governor Schwarzenegger because of unrelated provisions.