Scientific first found in Hwang research

Aug. 3, 2007 at 11:22 AM

NEW YORK, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say discredited stem cell research by Korean scientist Hwang Woo Suk actually did achieve a scientific first.

While Hwang's claim he had derived embryonic stem cells from the adult cells of a patient was discredited, a team at Children's Hospital Boston who re-examined Hwang's work found the embryonic stem cells were derived from parthenogenesis -- a process that creates an embryo from an unfertilized egg, The New York Times said Friday.

The report is published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Other researchers have since developed embryonic stem cells from parthenogenetic eggs, but Hwang's team would have been the first to do so had its members recognized what they had done, the newspaper said.

"It could have been a seminal finding if they hadn't had their blinders on," Kent E. Vrana, an expert on parthenogenesis at Pennsylvania State University, told The Times.

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