Thursday, December 15, 2005

Does the Korea-Egg Affair Give California More Stem Cell Clout?

The editor in chief of Scientific American, John Rennie, has put together a review of the implications of the Korea-egg scandal, which he described as "flabbergasting."

Writing on his blog, Rennie said:

"In six months, this work went from being one of the most celebrated accomplishments of recent biotechnology--probably a strong contender for future Nobel consideration--to what may become a legendary scientific fraud akin to the Piltdown man."

Rennie addressed a number of questions, one of which was "how does all this affect the international competition for stem cell dominance?" Rennie's answer:

"If Hwang's work is illusory, though, the center of power would seem to have swung back over to the U.S. -- that is to say, California."

Rennie's final paragraph:

"There's an old wry observation that if you look back at disastrously bad decisions made throughout history, you could probably find someone connected to each who would have said, 'Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.' But I can't see how anyone in the Hwang lab could have ever even thought that."

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