Korea indicts cloning researcher

May 12, 2006

SEOUL, South Korea -- Prosecutors indicted disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk today on fraud and bioethics law violations linked to faked stem cell research, officials said.

Five members of Hwang's research team were indicted on the same charges, prosecution official Lee In-kyu said in a nationally televised news conference. He said none of the six would be detained, but did not elaborate.

Hwang was hailed worldwide as a stem cell pioneer and treated as a national hero until investigations late last year showed that he had fabricated key data in two papers he published in the journal Science in 2004 and 2005.

The scientist had claimed that he created the world's first cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them.

Those claims had offered hope of new treatments for millions of patients suffering from paralysis and debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The journal has since retracted both articles.

He made a public apology but was later fired from his post as a professor at Seoul National University's veterinary department and the government conducted a probe into his finances.

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