News of the WeekScientific Misconduct

Hwang Convicted But Dodges Jail; Stem Cell Research Has Moved On

Science  30 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5953, pp. 650-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.326_650a

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Disgraced stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang was handed a 2-year suspended prison sentence on 26 October for embezzlement and bioethics law violations. And the scientific community seemed to just shrug. Several factors blunted the impact of the fraud, including the discovery, just 6 months after Hwang's papers were retracted, that introducing just four genes into mouse skin cells could turn them into something that closely resembles embryonic stem cells, which pushed nuclear-transfer research like Hwang's into the background. Some even see a silver lining in the Hwang affair: It has increased attention to research ethics and documentation.