South Korea decided on 23 March to allow the continued use of human eggs in cloning research despite a scandal involving a prominent scientist who admitted to forging work and ethics violations in acquiring eggs.
The proposal by the National Life Ethics Commission comes after last year’s downfall of Hwang Woo-suk, a scientist once regarded as a national hero for internationally hailed work in cloning and stem cell research that was later revealed shown to be falsified.
Hwang claimed to have cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them, which initially raised hopes of providing new cures for previously untreatable diseases.Some of the eggs for his research were donated by female scientists on his team, raising questions about the ethics of obtaining them.
Under the new plan on 23 March in a government decree, the commission said scientists should use only eggs set to be destroyed after fertility treatments or from other lawful uses.Scientists seeking to do such work will still have to get a license from the government.
Hwang resigned from the country’s leading university, Seoul National University, and remains on trial for misappropriating private and government funds. He has maintained he was fooled by underlings who he says doctored findings.