Pittsburgh University professor Gerald Schatten told Korean officials he did not know that cloning data had been fabricated, two months after prosecutors investigating charges of scientific fraud requested the information.
“We received a 56-page statement through e-mail from Dr. Schatten last night, which denies his involvement in fabricating data for the article,” prosecutors said.
Dr. Schatten, who collaborated with disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, was one of the co-authors of a 2005 paper on customized stem cell cloning that was published and later retracted by the U.S. journal Science.
Dr. Schatten told prosecutors that he did not know of the data fabrication until the case had become public and that he had only assisted in writing the article in English based on data provided by the Korean research team.
Prosecutors said they could not take Dr. Schatten’s statement on face value, but that they will examine the contents in detail to see if there are any facts that could help shed light on the process in which fraud took place within the research team at Seoul National University.
Also yesterday, a 15-minute segment from an hour-long investigative television report on Dr. Hwang and stem cells that was pulled by the state-run Korean Broadcasting System was posted simultaneously on the Web site of the online news site Polinews and various other Web sites.
The producer Moon Hyung-ryul, who was prevented by the broadcaster from running his report, had previously published a transcript of the program on the Web; yesterday was the first video broadcast.
KBS had refused to run the program because it includes allegations that Dr. Schatten used stem cell research technology developed at Seoul National University to apply for his own patent, and suggests that Dr. Hwang had cloned stem cell line 1 through somatic cell transfer technology ― contradicting results reported by an investigative panel at Seoul National University, which fired the scientist last month.
by Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily