SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea's top university said Monday it has received some DNA test results for its investigation of disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk and it will complete a final report on the findings next week.
The investigation panel at Seoul National University commissioned the DNA tests to determine whether Hwang ever created patient-matched stem cells as he claimed in a May article in the journal Science. On Friday, the panel said at least nine of 11 stem cell lines that Hwang had claimed to create were faked.
Some test results have been received, the panel said in a statement, adding it would take a few more days to get a full analysis. No details of the results have been released so far.
However, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that the initial results showed the two remaining cell lines, whose authenticity has been in question, were not cloned. Yonhap did not cite a source and the university would not confirm the report.
"It appears unlikely an announcement will be made this week on the outcome of the analysis," the panel said, adding that it would be able to write a final report on its investigation next week.
Last week, Hwang apologized for the scandal and stepped down as professor at the university, but still insisted his team had developed the technology to create patient-matched stem cells, which have the potential to develop into any bodily tissue and raised worldwide hopes of revolutionary cures for hard-to-treat diseases.
Hwang has alleged that some of his stem cells were switched by a researcher at his lab. Hwang filed a legal complaint, asking prosecutors to investigate.
The researcher, Kim Seon-jong, has denied the charges, He was questioned for four hours by the university panel early Sunday.
"We interviewed researcher Kim for a long time as he said he wanted to clear unfair accusations against him," the panel said Monday. "Kim also expressed his intention to comply if the prosecution summons him."
Prosecutors say they are waiting for the university investigation to be completed before launching their own probe.