In this review of the Korean cloning scandal involving Woo-Suk Hwang, the nature of the disaster is documented and reasons why it occurred are suggested. The general problems it raises for scientific research are highlighted and six possible ways of improving practice are offered in the light of this case: (1) better education of science students; (2) independent monitoring and validation; (3) guidelines for tissue donation for research; (4) fostering of debate about ethically contentious research in science journals; (5) development of an international code of ethical research practice; (6) fostering of public involvement in ethical review and debate through the web.
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Competing interests: None declared.