'Mouse with ear' scientist's research vindicated
(08.27.2011)

A new "ear mouse" is unveiled yesterday.

The Shanghai scientist at the center of a mushrooming scandal over his "mouse with a human ear" was vindicated yesterday by medical and government officials after claims that he had faked the research to get millions of yuan in research funding.

At a news conference yesterday, Cao Yilin even presented more mice bearing "ears" on their backs to refute accusations that he had swindled millions of yuan in research funds by promoting "a fake mouse" a decade ago.

The reproduced mice have gone through third-party examinations from academicians and experts, hospital and university officials said at the news conference. Moreover, the National Audit Office completed its investigation of Cao's projects and found that he met all standards.

Cao, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a plastic surgeon at the Shanghai No. 9 People's Hospital, won world fame in 2001 with his stunning "mouse with a human ear on its back." The breakthrough inspired hope that tissue engineering would someday allow scientists to regrow ears and noses for the injured.

But Shang Qingxin, Cao's postgraduate classmate and former colleague, accused Cao of implanting polymer material instead of cartilage in the mouse. Shang and others said the fake helped Cao win vast amounts of funding for his research work and that it turned out to be fruitless.

In response, Cao reproduced eight mice with ears on their backs and videotaped the whole process for authorities' investigation earlier this month.

Tissue slices confirmed that the "human ear" on the mouse is cartilage.