Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Nathans was the first to demonstrate how restriction enzymes could be used to cleaving DNA and how to piece together its fragments to contruct a complete map of DNA. His work inspired the use of restriction enzymes for many different biotechnology applications, including DNA sequencing and the construction of recombinant DNA.1928-10-30T00:00:00+0000 Zinder discovered how hereditary information is transferred from one organism to another. The process is known as genetic transduction.1928-11-07T00:00:00+0000Ames developed a biological test to quickly identify whether or not a chemical compound is a potential carcinogen. Bacteria are exposed to the test substance and allowed to multiply. 1928-12-16T00:00:00+0000E Witebsky, 'Disponibilitiit und Spezifitat alkoholloslicher Strukturen von Organen und bosartigen Geschwulsten', Zeitschrift fur Imrnunitaetsforschung, Allergie und Klinische Immunologie' 62 (1929), 35-73. 1929-01-01T00:00:00+0000Founded by Clarence Little, one of the leading researchers into genetic differences governing the rejection of foreign tissues. 1929-01-01T00:00:00+0000R Pearl, 'Cancer and tuberculosis', American Journal of Hygiene, 9 (1929), 97-149. 1929-04-01T00:00:00+0000Lauterbur was an American chemist who is credited with the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for scanning the body for diagnosis. He helped introduce gradients in the magnetic field which made it possible to determine the source of radio waves emitted from the nuclei of the object being investigated. This was a major breakthrough as it allowed MRI to shift on from being used as a tool merely used to study the chemical structure of substances to allowing for the production of images of the body. Lauterbur shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his pioneering work on MRI.1929-05-06T00:00:00+0000Werner Arber is a geneticist and microbiologist. He shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in 1978 for helping to discover restriction enzymes and showing their application in molecular genetics. It was based on some work he carried out in the 1960s. Arber predicted in 1965 that restriction enzymes could be used as a tool for cleaving DNA. The enzymes are now an important tool for genetic engineering. 1929-06-03T00:00:00+0000Edelman was a biologist renowned for his research on antibodies. His research helped determine the chemical structure of antibodies in the early 1960s. It showed that antibodies were made up of two light and heavy chains linked together by disulfide bonds. The breakthrough immediately galvanised feverish activity in all fields of immunological science, paving the way to the development of antibodies for both diagnostics and therapy. Edelman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1972 for his work.1929-07-01T00:00:00+0000Ruddle helped pioneer human gene mapping and established many of the techniques and a framework for setting up the Human Genome Project. He is also known for having generated, with Jon W. Gordon and George Scango the first successful transgenic mouse. His work heralded the development of genetically modified animals as research models to investigate the function of genes and genetic cause of disease. He also co-discovered, with William McGinnis, the first human homeobox genes, important regulators of gene development. 1929-08-19T00:00:00+0000Kandel shared the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries 'concerning signal transduction in the nervous system.'1929-11-07T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a leading expert on viruses that cause cancer. First woman appointed to Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital. In 1980 she completed the sequence of the poliovirus, the longest piece of eukaryotic DNA to be sequenced at that time. Devoted her life to understanding the Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of Burkitt's Lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer. 1930-01-23T00:00:00+0000Eijkman was a Dutch physician who helped discover vitamins and identify beriberi as a disease caused by poor diet. 1930-11-05T00:00:00+0000Youyou discovered artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, used to treat malaria for which she received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She is the first female citizen of the People's Republic of China to receive a Nobel Prize.1930-12-30T00:00:00+0000First prototype of electron microscope constructed by Ernest Ruska, German physicist, and Max Knoll, electrial engineer.1931-01-01T00:00:00+0000Miller was an immunologist who demonstrated the importance of the thymus in protecting the body against infections and rejecting foreign tissues. Prior to this the thymus was thought to have no function. Miller also identified two major subsets of lymphocytes (T and B cells) and that these interacted to allow normal antibody production. He later showed that T cells are produced by the thymus. In 1963 he provided the first evidence that thymus-derived immune cells can provide protection against certain tumours. This laid an stepping stone in the development of cancer immunotherapy. 1931-04-02T00:00:00+0000Hamilton Othanel Smith co-discovered with Kent W Wilcox and Thomas Kelly the site-specific restriction enzyme now known as HindII which facilitates the cutting and pasting of specific DNA fragments for the generation of recombinant DNA.1931-08-23T00:00:00+00001932-01-01T00:00:00+0000Key developer of vaccine against rubella virus1932-01-01T00:00:00+0000Gilbert is a molecular biologist. He was involved in some of the early efforts to pioneer techniques for determining base sequences in nucleic acids, known known as DNA sequencing, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1980. He was the first scientist to propose the existence of intron and exons. In 1986 Gilbert became a proponent of the theory that the first forms of life evolved out of replicating RNA molecules. The same year he began campaigning to set up the Human Genome Project. He was also a co-founder and the first Chief Executive Officer of Biogen, a biotechnology company originally set up to commercialise genetic engineering.1932-03-21T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
30 Oct 1928Daniel Nathans was born in Wilmington, Delaware, USANathansWilmington, Delaware 
7 Nov 1928Norton David Zinder was born New York City, USAZinderRockefeller UniversityGenetics
16 Dec 1928Bruce N Ames was bornAmesUniversity California BerkeleyDiagnostics, Oncology
1929First molecular marker, antigen, identified on a tumour, laying foundation for use of antibodies to diagnose and treat cancerWitebsky University of HeidelbergImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
1929Jackson Memorial Laboratories established to develop inbred strains of mice to study the genetics of cancer and other diseases Jackson Memorial LaboratoroiesGenetics, Immunology, Oncology, Transgenic animals
Apr 1929Autopsies carried out on tuberculosis patients show them less likely to have contracted cancerPearlJohns Hopkins UniversityImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology,
6 May 1929Paul C Lauterbur was born in Sidney, Ohio, USALauterburState University of New York, University of IllnoisDiagnostic imaging
3 Jun 1929Werner Arber was born in Granichen, SwitzerlandArberUniversity of GenevaRestriction enzymes, Recombinant DNA, DNA Sequencing
1 Jul 1929Gerald M Edelman was born in New York NY, USAEdelmanRockefeller UniversityAntibodies, Immunology
19 Aug 1929Frank Ruddle was born in West New York, New JerseyRuddleYale UniversityGenetics, Transgenic, Cloning
7 Nov 1929Eric R Kandel was born in Vienna, AustriaKandelColumbia UniversityNeuroscience
23 Jan 1930Beverly Griffin was born in Delhi, Louisiana, USAGriffinImperial College 
5 Nov 1930Christiaan Eijkman diedEijkmanUtrecht UniversityNutrition
30 Dec 1930Tu Youyou was born in Zhejiang, ChinaYouyouZhejiang 
1931Invention of the electron microscopeRuska  
Apr 1931Jacques F.A.P. Miller was born in Nice, FranceMillerWalter and Eliza Hall InstituteImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy
23 Aug 1931Hamilton Smith was born in New York CitySmithNew York City 
1932Sanger attends Bryanston School, Dorset, as boarderSanger DNA Sequencing
1932Stanley Plotkin born in New York City, USAPlotkinWistar Institute
21 Mar 1932Walter Gilbert was born in Boston MA, USAGilbertHarvard University, BiogenDNA Sequencing, RNA, Biochemistry

30 Oct 1928

Daniel Nathans was born in Wilmington, Delaware, USA

7 Nov 1928

Norton David Zinder was born New York City, USA

16 Dec 1928

Bruce N Ames was born

1929

First molecular marker, antigen, identified on a tumour, laying foundation for use of antibodies to diagnose and treat cancer

1929

Jackson Memorial Laboratories established to develop inbred strains of mice to study the genetics of cancer and other diseases

Apr 1929

Autopsies carried out on tuberculosis patients show them less likely to have contracted cancer

6 May 1929

Paul C Lauterbur was born in Sidney, Ohio, USA

3 Jun 1929

Werner Arber was born in Granichen, Switzerland

1 Jul 1929

Gerald M Edelman was born in New York NY, USA

19 Aug 1929

Frank Ruddle was born in West New York, New Jersey

7 Nov 1929

Eric R Kandel was born in Vienna, Austria

23 Jan 1930

Beverly Griffin was born in Delhi, Louisiana, USA

5 Nov 1930

Christiaan Eijkman died

30 Dec 1930

Tu Youyou was born in Zhejiang, China

1931

Invention of the electron microscope

Apr 1931

Jacques F.A.P. Miller was born in Nice, France

23 Aug 1931

Hamilton Smith was born in New York City

1932

Sanger attends Bryanston School, Dorset, as boarder

1932

Stanley Plotkin born in New York City, USA

21 Mar 1932

Walter Gilbert was born in Boston MA, USA