Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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A British molecular biologist, Roberts helped discover, with Philp A Sharp, introns, sections of DNA that do not carry genetic information. 1943-09-06T00:00:00+0000Sanger undertakes the research as part of team working with Albert Chibnall in Department of Biochemistry. His work is initially supported by a Beit Memorial Fellowship from 1944 and then by Medical Research Council from 1951. 1944-01-01T00:00:00+0000Zinkernagel shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to discover how T cells recognise infected cells. 1944-01-06T00:00:00+0000The physician-geneticists Oswald Avery, Canadian-born, Colin MacLeod, Canadian-born, and Maclyn McCarty, American-born, announce an experiment demonstrating that a harmless bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, can be made virulent by using DNA isolated from a virulent strain. 1944-02-01T00:00:00+0000Sharp is a geneticist and molecular biologist. He shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of RNA splicing. This was awarded on the back of some research he did in 1977 which showed that RNA can be divided up into introns and exons, after which the exons can be joined together. This process can happen in different ways. It provides the means to the gene to form a number of different proteins. Sharp is also a co-founder of Biogen, set up in 1978. He also helped found Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Magen Biosciences.1944-06-06T00:00:00+0000Carrel was a French surgeon and biologist. Inspired by lessons he took from from an embroideress, he developed new techniques for suturing blood vessels that minimised damage to the vascular wall. He was awarded the 1912 Nobel Prize for Medicine in recognition of 'his work on vascular structure and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs'. During World War I he helped develop a new method for treating wounds based on chlorine, which was a major advance in the care of traumatic wounds. In the 1930s he helped create a glass perfusion pump, a forerunner to the artificial heart. His reputation later became marred in controversy because of his strong support for Eugenic policies of sterilisation for those with families with hereditary diseases and a criminal history as well euthanasia for the mentally defective. In 1944 he was singled out for collaboration with the Nazis under the Vichy government, but he died before going on trial.1944-11-05T00:00:00+0000Together with Ravinder Maini, Feldmann helped identify TNF alpha as a key cytokine in the process of rheumatoid arthritis, laying the foundation for the development of monoclonal antibody drugs to treat autoimmune diseases.1944-12-02T00:00:00+0000Together with Hilary Koprowski, Croce developed the first monoclonal antibodies against tumour antigens which formed the basis of the first patent awarded to monoclonal antibodies. He has also been instrumental in showing the role of micoRNA in cancer and that the disease is linked to somatic genetic changes. Croce also helped discover the molecular mechanism behind leukaemia.1944-12-17T00:00:00+0000Mullis shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry development of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to quickly make a huge number of copies of specific pieces of DNA.1944-12-28T00:00:00+0000An oncologist, researcher and venture capitalist, Royston, together with Howard Birndorf and Ted Greene co-founded Hybritech, America's first monoclonal antibody biotechnology company. Hybritech helped kick-start the biotechnology industry in San Diego. Royston also co-founded Idec Pharmaceuticals,the company that developed Rituxan, the first monoclonal antibody drug approved by the FDA for cancer. 1944-11-30T00:00:00+0000Cesar Milstein studies at the University of Buenos Aires.1945-01-01T00:00:00+0000Set up in Harwell, UK, the role of the AERE is to undertake research that serves the whole of Britain's nuclear enterprise, including the dangers of radiation.1945-01-01T00:00:00+0000Waldmann demonstrated how monoclonal antibodies could induce tolerance to foreign proteins and transplanted tissues. He and his team developed the first humanised monoclonal antibody (alemtuzumab) which is now used for combating leukaemia, preventing transplant rejection and treating autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and vasculitis. 1945-02-27T00:00:00+0000McClung was a zoologist. He is best known for identifying the role of chromosomes in determining the sex of a species. This he did through a series of experiments with insects between 1901 and 1902. Based on his findings he hypothesised that the accessory chromosome (now known as chromosome X) could be the nuclear element that determined sex. It was the first time a scientist suggested that a given chromosome carried a set of hereditary traits. 1946-01-17T00:00:00+0000King is a human geneticist who studies the interplay between genetics and the environment on human disease. She is best known for having identified BRCA1, a single gene responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers. Her technique for identifying the BRCA1 gene is now used for studying many other diseases. She was also responsible for the development of a technique, using mitrochondial DNA and human leucocyte antigen, for genetically identifying the remains of missing people. 1946-02-27T00:00:00+0000Together with Cesar Milstein, Kohler developed the first unlimited supply of long-lasting monoclonal antibodies. Their technique now underpins the development and application of many diagnostics and therapeutics. Kohler and Milstein devised the method as part of their search for a tool to investigate how the immune system can make so many different kinds antibodies, each able to bind to a highly specific receptor on foreign substances that invade the body. 1946-03-17T00:00:00+0000Together with Cesar Milstein, Kohler developed the first unlimited supply of long-lasting monoclonal antibodies. Their technique now underpins the development and application of many diagnostics and therapeutics. Kohler and Milstein devised the method as part of their search for a tool to investigate how the immune system can make so many different kinds antibodies, each able to bind to a highly specific receptor on foreign substances that invade the body. 1946-04-17T00:00:00+0000Jarvik is a medical scientist best known for having invented the first artificial heart used as a permanent replacement for a natural heart. The first person to receive the heart was Barney Clark, a retired dentist, who survived 112 days after the operation, performed in 1982. The second patient, William Schroeder, survived 620 days after being given the artificial heart. 1946-05-11T00:00:00+0000Axel shared the 2004 Nobel Prize for Medicine for research into the olefactory system.1946-07-02T00:00:00+0000The MRC RU is an autonomous institute that forms part of the AERE Harwell, UK.1947-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
6 Sep 1943Richard J Roberts was bornRoberts DNA
1944Sanger starts working on amino acid composition of insulinSangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
6 Jan 1944Rolf M Zinkernagel was born in Basel, SwitzerlandZinkernagelUniversity of ZurichImmunology
1 Feb 1944DNA identified as a heritary agentAveryRockefeller UniversityDNA
6 Jun 1944Phillip A Sharp was born in Falmouth, Kentucky, USASharpMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Biogen, Alynylam Pharmaceuticals, Magen BiosciencesRNA, genetics
5 Nov 1944Alexis Carrel diedCarrelRockefeller UniversityTransplantation
2 Dec 1944Marc Feldmann was born in FranceFeldmannFrance 
17 Dec 1944Carlo Croce was born in Milan, ItalyCroceMilan, Italy 
28 Dec 1944Kary Banks Mullis was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, USAMullisCetus Corporation 
30 Nov 1944Ivor Royston was born in Retford, United KingdomRoystonRetford, United Kingdom 
1945 - 1952Cesar Milstein studies for a chemistry degreeMilsteinUniversity of Buenos Aires  
1945Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) founded AERE Stem cells
27 Feb 1945Herman Waldmann was born in United KingdomWaldmannUnited KingdomImmunology, Monoclonal antibodies
17 Jan 1946Clarence E McClung diedMcClungUniversity of PennsylvaniaGenetics
27 Feb 1946Mary-Claire King was born in Illinois, USAKingIllinois 
17 Mar 1946Georges Kohler was born in Munich, GermanyKohlerMunich, GermanyAntibodies, Monoclonal antibodies, Immunology
17 Apr 1946Georges Kohler was born in Munich, GermanyKohlerLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
11 May 1946Robert Koffler Jarvik was born in Midland, Michigan, USAJarvikMidland, MichiganUniversity of Utah
Jul 1946Richard Axel was born in New York City, USAAxelNew York CityNeuroscience
1947Medical Research Council Radiobiological Unit (MRC RU) establishedLoutit, Ford, BarnesMRC RRUStem cells

6 Sep 1943

Richard J Roberts was born

1944

Sanger starts working on amino acid composition of insulin

6 Jan 1944

Rolf M Zinkernagel was born in Basel, Switzerland

1 Feb 1944

DNA identified as a heritary agent

6 Jun 1944

Phillip A Sharp was born in Falmouth, Kentucky, USA

5 Nov 1944

Alexis Carrel died

2 Dec 1944

Marc Feldmann was born in France

17 Dec 1944

Carlo Croce was born in Milan, Italy

28 Dec 1944

Kary Banks Mullis was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, USA

30 Nov 1944

Ivor Royston was born in Retford, United Kingdom

1945 - 1952

Cesar Milstein studies for a chemistry degree

1945

Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) founded

27 Feb 1945

Herman Waldmann was born in United Kingdom

17 Jan 1946

Clarence E McClung died

27 Feb 1946

Mary-Claire King was born in Illinois, USA

17 Mar 1946

Georges Kohler was born in Munich, Germany

17 Apr 1946

Georges Kohler was born in Munich, Germany

11 May 1946

Robert Koffler Jarvik was born in Midland, Michigan, USA

11 May 1946

Richard Axel was born in New York City, USA

1947

Medical Research Council Radiobiological Unit (MRC RU) established