"Tearful" return to work for human cloning pioneer

Hwang Woo-suk left hospital after 7 days treatment for stress. He vowed to continue with his work despite serious violations of medical ethics during his research.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Embattled South Korean stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-suk left hospital yesterday and made a tearful return to work. Professor Hwang was taken to hospital last Wednesday for stress caused by an ethics scandal over his research.

The scientist arrived at his laboratory at the Seoul National University early yesterday, emerging in public for the first time since the press conference where he admitted two of his staff had donated their eggs for his research, in violation of medical ethics.

He wept and hugged some of the 50 students and researchers who assembled to welcome him back to his office. "I am sorry for causing anxiety to the public," Hwang said.

He vowed to continue with his stem cell research and to co-operate in the investigation into his research launched yesterday by his university. Seoul National University would select an expert panel to conduct an internal investigation of Professor Hwang's work.

On the occasion of the Mass for Life celebrated Dec. 4 at the Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul Stephen Cardinal Kim Su-hwan reaffirmed the position of the Church over the controversial question. Cardinal said that the 'embryonic research' of Prof. Hwang - consisting of embryonic cloning, the matrix of human life - is ultimately "what damages human dignity".