April 11, 2007 / 5:53 AM / 11 years ago

U.S. periodical pulls paper on Korean wolf clones

SEOUL (Reuters) - A U.S. publication has withdrawn a paper by South Korean scientists about the world’s first cloned wolves in a further disgrace for a team that embarrassed the country with a stem cell research fraud.

Seoul National University said on Monday it was investigating a team of scientists at the school for possibly inflating data in its wolf experiment to increase its cloning success rate.

After that, the U.S. periodical "Cloning and Stem Cells" said on its Web site it "will await the outcome of this investigation before deciding upon any action." The complete paper is no longer available at the site (here).

The university delivered blood and tissue samples from the cloned wolf experiment on Tuesday to independent labs for testing, and results should be known in the next week or two, local media reported.

The team was once led by Hwang Woo-suk, once hailed as a national hero for bringing South Korea to the forefront of cloning and stem cell studies but now on trial for fraud, embezzlement and violating bioethics laws.

Hwang and other members of his team have since left their posts at the university after they fabricated data in two papers on human embryonic stem cells that have since been debunked.

The Seoul National University team did produce the world’s first cloned dog, which has been verified by independent testing.

Last month it showed off to the media two endangered Korean wolves called Snuwolf and Snuwolffy, who it said were clones born about a year and half ago.

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