Letters

Editorial Expression of Concern

Science  06 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5757, pp. 36b
DOI: 10.1126/science.1124185

The report entitled “Patient-specific embryonic stem cells derived from human SCNT blastocysts” by W. S. Hwang et al. (1) reported the establishment of 11 human embryonic stem cell lines by somatic cell nuclear transfer of skin cells from patients with disease or injury into donated oocytes. Hwang and G. Schatten, the corresponding authors of the paper, have notified Science of their intention to retract the paper. Hwang has sent us some language that he intends to use in the retraction. We have requested more information from the authors as well as agreement from all the co-authors to retract the paper.

On 23 December 2005, the Seoul National University Investigation Committee provided an interim report on their investigation of Woo Suk Hwang's research. The report (2) stated that “the experimental data submitted to Science in support of 11 stem cell lines (DNA fingerprinting, microscopic photos, confirmation of teratomas, etc.) were all derived from 2 cell lines” and that “the Committee finds that the experimental data published in the 2005 Science paper were based on a deliberate manipulation, in other words a fabrication of research results.” The report also states that “The Investigation Committee has submitted samples of cell lines 2 and 3 for DNA testing in order to determine their authenticity.”

An earlier paper by Hwang and colleagues (3) attracted much attention as the first demonstration of the derivation of a pluripotent embryonic stem cell line from a cloned human blastocyst. Given the concerns raised about the 2005 paper, we are undertaking a careful review of the 2004 paper as well and expect to consult with outside advisers as needed. The SNU Investigation Committee announced that it has begun an investigation of this paper and of other work from the Hwang lab.

Science is publishing this expression of concern to alert our readers that serious concerns have been raised about the validity of the findings in these two papers. We are working with the authors and SNU to proceed with the retraction of the 2005 paper (1). We will provide more information on the 2004 paper as it becomes available.

References

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