Dr. Woo Suk Hwang's cloning scandal may have accidentally unveiled a different breakthrough.
Woo Suk Hwang, discredited for falsifying stem cell research, actually made important breakthrough

Last year a team of South Korean scientists, lead by Dr. Woo Suk Hwang claimed ground breaking advances in human cloned stem cell research. Later his work was discredited as being falsified.

Dr. Woo Suk Hwang claimed to have cloned human embryos and further claimed he was able to extract stem cells from them. After his work was discredited Hwang was fired from Seoul National University.

It now seems that Dr. Hwang and his team may have made an even more remarkable breakthrough, without even realizing it. At the Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers looking at Hwang’s data found the cells were from a different type of embryo.

The genetic fingerprint of the cells tells researchers that the stem cells were from embryos produced by what is called “virgin birth” or parthenogenesis, occurring when eggs are stimulated into embryos without being fertilized by sperm. This feat has been achieved in animals, but before Hwang it had never been done in humans.

Dr. George Daley told the BBC, "Unfortunately at the time they published their work they did not know what they had done so they had mistakenly isolated these parthenogenic embryonic stem cells, and yet misrepresented them as true clones.”

Professor Azim Surani, from the University of Cambridge, says that Hwang’s unwitting discovery is potentially more important than the discovery he falsified.

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