07/16/2015, 00.00
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Seoul, Hwang Woo-suk launches battle to clone a mammoth

After years of failed attempts, the false "human cloning pioneer" has seen other scientists suceed on the first try. Having given him the cells, he wants the rights to the cloning technique of the extinct mammal.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The false "cloning pioneer" Hwang Woo-suk has denounced his associates accusing them of wanting to appropriate the mammoth cloning techniques, which he claims are his by law. The scientist is famous for having deceived the international scientific community claiming to be able to clone human stem cells.

In 2006, during a fraud trial, the "cloning pioneer" had admitted to using state funds to buy some mammoth tissue samples from the Russian mafia. Since 2012 the veterinarian has been collaborating with Russian researchers in an attempt to clone the extinct mammals, from cells taken from frozen carcases in the Republic of Sahka (in Russia).

The plan to give new life to the animal involves removing the nucleus of the cell (carrier of the genetic material) from replicated mammoth cells. The core is then inserted into the egg of an elephant - the living animal with the closest kinship with the mammoth - deprived of the original genetic material.

After years of trying, Hwang Woo-suk was forced in 2015 to seek help from Park Se-pil, a researcher at Jeju National University and two other scientists. Before long, Park and his team were able to induce cell differentiation from the samples provided by Hwang.

On losing out on the important discovery, Hwang immediately declared that the results obtained are part of his personal work and that he alone has the rights to the experimental methods used. Park responded by saying that Hwang had provided cells without any conditions, and that the results should be considered a collaborative effort.

Hwang has opened a lawsuit against Park and his colleagues, accusing them of misappropriation and attempted blackmail.

Hwang Woo-suk, once a "national hero", fell into disgrace in 2005 after the international scientific community and the University of the South Korean capital exposed the results of his research on embryonic stem cells, which had been completely falsified in the laboratory to give the impression of being able to clone healthy cells from patients suffering from currently incurable diseases.

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