(AFP) – Dec 17, 2007
SEOUL (AFP) — Disgraced South Korean cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk is part of a team seeking government approval to resume research into stem cells, officials said Monday.
A research lab opened by Hwang in 2006 on December 13 submitted a request that it be allowed to begin a new embryonic stem cell research project, the health ministry said.
"Hwang was one of the eight researchers from the Suam Biotechnology Institute who filed an application to conduct stem cell studies," an official at the ministry's bioethics and safety bureau told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"We have to send a reply within 90 days but our bureau is expected to hold a meeting in February on whether to approve the request," the official said.
Hwang, who is still on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges, has been banned from research using human eggs after his claims that he created the first human stem cells through cloning were ruled to be bogus.
He has insisted in court that he could still prove he created the first cloned human stem cells.
Hwang was stripped of all government honours and funds, including his title of "Supreme Scientist," after Seoul National University concluded that his claims -- first made public in a 2004 science journal -- were fake.
The Suam institute is the only research body to have requested permission for stem cell studies since the scandal over Hwang hit South Korea last year.
The new team offered to use aborted human eggs in stem cell research, the health ministry official said. As a result of the scandal, local scientists are now only allowed to use aborted eggs.
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