Former Korean Scientific Hero Indicted

Renee Montagne and John Ydstie report on the indictment of the South Korean scientist who is charged with fraud, embezzlement and bioethics violations over faked stem cell research. The scandal has shaken the scientific community.

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JOHN YDSTIE, host:

He was once a national hero. Now disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk is charged with fraud, embezzlement and violating the country's laws on bioethics. He faces up to 13 years in prison.

In 2004, Hwang and his research team claimed they had created the world's first cloned embryos and extracted stem cells. The following year the team announced it had produced tailored embryonic stem cells.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Before both claims were proved to be false, Hwang was hailed as a stem cell pioneer. His research appeared to bring hope for breakthrough treatments to diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.

Besides charges of falsifying data, South Korean prosecutors say Hwang accepted and misused nearly $3 million in government and private donations. Hwang has been in seclusion for several months and has not commented on the new charges. Earlier he accused members of his team of producing the fake data, and he continues to insist he has the knowledge and technology to do what he's claimed. It's not known if the scientist will be taken into custody.

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