Wolf clones confirmed
Investigation vindicates but also criticises researchers.
Claims that a wolf has been successfully cloned are solid, an internal university investigation has found.
A group at Seoul National University (SNU) reported in the March 2007 issue of Cloning and Stem Cells that they had cloned two wolf pups. But the paper was taken down from the journal's website in April, after concerns were raised about some of the data and the authors asked to make some corrections to the text. The work lists as a co-author Woo Suk-Hwang, a cloning researcher found to have previously fabricated the results of a human cloning and stem-cell experiment.
SNU's Research Integrity Committee has now investigated the validity of the data in the wolf paper, conducting their own DNA tests. The committee announced on 27 April that the two wolves, named Snuwolf and Snuwolffy, born in 2005, are genuine clones. But the committee also criticised the researchers, led by Lee Byeong-Chun, for "unintentional mistakes" in their data handling. They will ban Byeong-Chun from receiving research grants, publishing research, or conducting research for the purpose of publication for six months, a Korean news service reports.
The original paper has not, as yet, been re-instated on the Cloning and Stem Cells website, which says the journal is awaiting the outcome of the SNU investigation. Nature was unable to reach the journal or the university.
- Kim M. K., et al. Cloning and Stem Cells, 9 . 130 - 137 (2007).