The Korean veterinarian, Hwang Wu Suk, who was the first author in the human cloning scheme that became a scandal, testified this week in his embezzlement trial. The headlines and focus that various news outlets chose is almost a story in itself.
After seeing a LifeNews report that Hwang admits that he diverted research money into failed experiments to clone mammoths as well as humans, I went searching for other coverage. A Google News search tonight on “Hwang mammoths” yeilded 63 news articles, half(whose original author was Bo Mi Lim) titled “scientist denies embezzling,” and half (authored by Jack Kim) titled, “scientist says tried to clone mammoths.” Only about half of each group designated “the scientist” as “disgraced.”
Oh, and he tried to clone tigers, too.
“I am also a victim who was deceived. I am the biggest victim,” he said.
Claiming that he did not know that the results in the articles were faked – although in the past he has admitted to ordering his staff to fake results from 2 stem cell lines that he (really, truly) believed existed to make them look like 11 lines – and that he spent all the money in the efforts to further cloning of humans as well as dogs and mammoths, Hwang testified that he is the biggest victim of all.
I would not agree with him. The women who donated the more than 2000 human oocytes and all the people who were fooled into backing unethical research by an unethical man are “bigger” victims.
But come on, cloning mammoths? We definitely need more information. What was the origin of the oocytes used in these experiments?
Is this a story in hubris, or what?