South Korean embattled stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk Friday afternoon expressed intention to resign his professorship of Seoul National University (SNU).
Earlier in the day, the SNU issued an interim report over the investigation over Hwang's stem cell research, which tentatively concluded his team fabricated results of the research in the paper published in May this year in journal Science.
"I give up my professorship at Seoul National University (SNU) in an attempt to offer my earnest apology to the people for disappointing them," Hwang told reporters at the university.
But he still insisted South Korean scientists "hold the core technology of cloning the patient-tailored embryonic stem cells," pledging to prove it in future.
However, an official at the SNU said the school cannot accept the resignation because a probe of Hwang is still under way.
In late November, Hwang resigned from the post of head of World Stem Cell Hub due to the ethical scandal involving his research.
Under mountaining pressure, the 52-year-old clone expert confirmed media reports on Nov. 24 by admitting he used two fellow researchers' ova in his stem cell research in 2003.
Friday morning, the SNU's special panel said in its preliminary report that "Hwang's team had reported it had 11 patient-tailored stem cell lines but there were only two such stem cell lines on March 15 when it submitted its paper to the journal Science."
"After analyzing the data published in Science, we concluded that the glitch could not have been made by simple mistake but by deliberate manipulation," the report concluded.
Hwang and his research team claimed they had successfully cloned 11 different stem cells tailored to individual patients in this May, paving the way for future development of therapies for hard-to-cure diseases.