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A Fraud Blockbuster

Whistleblower, a movie about the Hwang Woo-Suk stem cell cloning scandal, is lighting up screens in South Korea, the Nature News Blog writes.

The movie, which is fictionalized account of events, tries to show Hwang as a complex person, rather than just a fraudster, the blog post notes.

“This topic is sensitive, so I was hesitant when I got the first offer,” director Yim Soon-rye said at the Seoul premiere last month. “I wanted to portray him [Lee Jang-hwan, Hwang’s character in the film] as a character who faces a very human problem, and to show there is room to understand his actions.”

But the real-life whistleblower Ryu Young-Joon tells the Nature News Blog that the movie strays far from what actually occurred. What Ryu, who was a researcher in Hwang's lab, exposed was rolled into what a reporter character finds, as were other discoveries.

The movie has also riled Hwang supporters who argue against evidence that Hwang was capable of some human cloning, the Nature News Blog adds.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.