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Lawyers for disgraced SKorean scientist open defense over forged stem-cell research

Lawyers for disgraced SKorean scientist open defense over forged stem-cell research

Lawyers for fallen cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk opened their defense Tuesday in his trial over alleged misappropriation of public and private funds for forged breakthroughs in stem-cell research.
Hwang is facing charges for allegedly accepting 2 billion won (US$2.1 million, euro1.7 million) in private donations based on the outcome of the falsified research, and of embezzling about 800 million won (US$850,000; euro665,000) in private and government research funds. If convicted, he faces at least three years in prison.
Hwang's claims of world-leading advances in the new field of stem cell research were discredited after revelations last year of ethics lapses that culminated in Hwang admitting that he had forged evidence backing academic papers.
Hwang has insisted he was deceived by underlings, and maintains that the science behind his work was sound.
At the last court hearing in September, lawyers for Hwang's associates facing similar charges began their defense. On Tuesday, the court was to focus mostly on Hwang.
Hwang's purported breakthroughs published in leading international science journals had thrust South Korea to the fore of stem-cell research, which some scientists believe could help create innovative new cures for untreatable diseases.
Stem cells are the basic cells that can grow into all kinds of tissue, and cloning them could create a way for patients to be treated with cells matching their own DNA _ minimizing risk of rejection.
Once treated as a national hero, Hwang was fired from the country's top school, Seoul National University, earlier this year. However, he began work at a new private lab in August.
Hwang, a trained veterinarian, is believed to have succeeded in creating the world's first cloned dog.


Updated : 2021-10-17 07:18 GMT+08:00