Hwang and Catholic cleric fail to agree on ethics of stem-cell research

.- South Korea’s most celebrated scientist, Hwang Woo-suk, met with the nation’s top Catholic cleric Wednesday to discuss the ethics of his embryonic stem-cell and cloning research.

However, the one-hour, closed-door meeting at the archbishop’s downtown office failed to advance the ethical debate, reported journalist Kim Tae-gyu.

The Seoul National University professor met with Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, after the archbishop condemned Hwang’s research as unethical because it necessitates killing embryos, that is, killing human life in its initial stages.

Hwang responded by expressing his willingness to meet the archbishop and discuss the issues.

According to diocesan spokesman Hur Yeong-yup, the two men discussed whether cloned embryos are living beings and whether human eggs should be used for research.

Some observers commented they were not surprised that the two men, whose views on the issue are polar opposites, did not come to a compromise or a mutual understanding.

Hwang had gained an international reputation last year when he announced that his team created a human embryo and had harvested a stem cell from it. Last month, he announced that he cloned 11 batches of stem cells genetically tailored to patients with critical diseases or disabilities.

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