Real Unreality of Stem Cell Research

The South Korean Woo Suk Hwang episode, uncovered in 2005, is one of the most notorious scientific scandals of recent times. I had very recently posted about a similar fraud by an Indian researcher.

_42472627_hwang_203In a tumultuous discovery, it is now established that Hwang achieved something much more spectacular than what he fraudulently claimed!

Hwang’s stem cells were found to be created not from cloned embryos, but extracted from embryos produced by the so-called “virgin birth” method, or parthenogenesis. This is a technique where eggs are converted into embryos without being fertilized by sperm.

Nicholas Wade in the NY Times says “Embryonic stem cells derived through parthenogenesis cannot develop normally, so they are free of ethical objections.” The BBC calls it a breakthrough. Strange are the ways of science!

As an aside, it is nice to find one of the ‘most read’ article on BBC today to be about something I’d written more than three weeks back! 🙂

Photo Credit: BBC/Getty Images

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