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More tests ordered on stem-cell research

SEOUL -- South Korea's top university said yesterday it has commissioned tests on more cell samples taken from scientist Hwang Woo-suk's lab amid reports that earlier results vindicated his claim to have created stem cells individually tailored to patients.

The investigation panel at Seoul National University has asked three outside labs to conduct the DNA tests to determine whether Hwang was ever able to develop a colony of stem cells from a cloned embryo, as he claimed in an article in the journal Science.

The panel said Friday that at least nine of the 11 stem cell lines documented in the article were fabricated, and that it was investigating the remaining two. But South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported yesterday that some test results already received showed that some stem cells, created after the paper was published, did match patients' DNA.

''However, there's a view that it is hard to see them as stem cells since they are in an early stage" of nurturing, an unnamed university official was quoted as saying.

The panel plans to give a final report on the investigation next week.

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