The website of a stem cell research center in Seoul was overloaded Tuesday when it began formally accepting applications from patients seeking to benefit from cloning technology, an official said.

The World Stem Cell Hub, led by cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk, said that it would begin receiving patient registration over the internet and in person Tuesday morning. Its website, inaccessible for hours due to a rush of applications, returned to normal around late morning.

“Our website was extremely slow for about three hours from 8 a.m. as there were too many access attempts,” said Yang Sung-kee, an official in charge of the website management at Seoul National Hospital, where the stem cell research center is. “It looked like the server went down, but it didn’t.”

The official said his team had two network experts on standby in case of attacks on the site from those who oppose cloning technology, but there were no such attempts.

Nearly 1,200 applications were received as of Tuesday morning, said Lim Jong-pil, an official at the research center at Seoul National University Hospital. More applications were still being submitted.

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