Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Fire is a biologist, pathologist and geneticist. In 1998 he and other colleagues working at Carnegie Institute reported in an article in Nature the discovery of tiny snippets of double-stranded RNA dsRNA) that appeared to silence specific genes which destroyed messenger RNA, a molecule involved in the production of proteins. They hypothesised that this was caused by a catalytic process. In 2006 he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to show the mechanism that controlled the flow of genetic information. 1959-04-27T00:00:00+0000LJ Old, DA Clarke, B Benacerraf, 'Effect of bacillus calmette-guerin infection on transplanted tumours in the mouse', Nature, 184 (1959), 291-92.1959-07-25T00:00:00+0000Tanaka shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the development of mass spectrophotometric methods for analysing biological molecules such as proteins. 1959-08-03T00:00:00+0000Georges Barski, Serge Sorieul and Francine Cornefert, French scientists at the Institut Gustave Roussy, spot cellular fusion occurs when two different tumour cell lines, taken from two different inbred strains of mice, are grown as a cell mixture in tissue cultures. This observation lays the basis for the development of new techniques for cellular fusion. 1960-01-01T00:00:00+0000Non-profit institution founded by Robert S Ledley to explore the use of computers in biomedical research. It is eventually located at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.1960-01-01T00:00:00+00001960-01-01T00:00:00+0000Goodpasture developed a method of culturing viruses in chicken embryos and fertilized chicken eggs. Before this viruses were grown in living tissues which could be contaminated by bacteria. Goodpasture's method laid the foundation for the development of vaccines for smallpox, yellow fever, typhus and chicken pox.1960-09-20T00:00:00+0000Mello shared the 2006 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of RNA interference 1960-10-19T00:00:00+0000Work by Har Gobind Khorana, Indian-born American biochemist on RNA and Robert Holley, American biochemist, on transfer RNA, helps piece together the genetic code. 1961-01-01T00:00:00+00001961-01-01T00:00:00+0000Milstein heads up the newly-created Department of Molecular Biology, part of the National Institute of Microbiology within the Instituto Malbran.1961-01-01T00:00:00+0000This discovery sets the stage for all current research on adult and embryonic stem cells.1961-01-01T00:00:00+0000The phenomenon was named the 'Hayflick Limit' after Leonard Hayflick who discovered it. It is now known to relate to genetic instability in aging cells and the development of cancer.1961-01-01T00:00:00+0000Experiment conducted by Sydney Brenner, Francois Jacob and Matt Meselson1961-03-31T00:00:00+0000Bordet was a Belgian physician, immunologist and microbiologist. He is best known for winning the 1919 Nobel Prize for his discovery of two components in the blood - antibodies and complement proteins - that help destroy invading bacteria. They do this by rupturing the cell walls of the bacteria, a process known as bacteriolysis. Bordet made the discovery in 1895. He subsequently found, in 1898, that red blood cells from one animal species injected into another get destroyed by haemolysis - a process analogous to bacteriolysis. His research laid the foundation for the development of diagnostic tests that looked for antibodies in the blood to detect infectious agents. The first one was for typhoid, developed in 1896. 1961-04-06T00:00:00+0000Greider is best known for her discovery of telomerase, an enzyme made up of protein and RNA subunits that help elongate and protect chromosomes. The enzyme is found in fetal tissues, adult germ cells and also tumour cells. Greider made the discovery in 1984 when she was a graduate student of Elizabeth Blackburn. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2009 on the back of this work. 1961-04-15T00:00:00+0000M.F. Lyon, 'Gene action in the X-chromosome of the mouse', Nature, 190 (1961), 372–73.1961-04-22T00:00:00+0000Marshall Nirenberg, American biochemist, and Heinrich Matthaei, German biochemist, discover the coding mechanism for DNA.1961-05-01T00:00:00+0000Lorraine Kraus incubated bone marrow cells from a patient with sickle-cell anaemia with DNA from healthy donor. L.M. Kraus, ‘Formation of different haemoglobins in tissue culture of human bone marrow treated with human deoxyribonucleic acid’, Nature, 4807 (1961) 1055-57. 1961-12-16T00:00:00+0000Loewi was a German pharmacologist and physician. He is credited for having discovered the first neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, in the brain. His work provided the first evidence that chemicals were involved in the transmission of impulses between nerve cells and from neurons to the responsive organ. He established this through investigations of the frog. Loewi was awarded the 1936 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work.1961-12-25T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
27 Apr 1959Andrew Z Fire was born in Stanford CA, USAFire Carnegie Institute, Johns Hopkins, Stanford UniversityRNA interference
25 Jul 1959Mice injected with BCG vaccine shown to develop resistance to growth of implanted tumours. This was the first direct evidence of the immune system's ability to prevent cancer. Old, Clarke, BenacerrafMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Oncology
3 Aug 1959Koichi Tanaka was born in Toyama City, JapanTanakaShimadzu CorporationAnalytical chemistry
1960Cellular fusion technique formulatedBarski, Sorieul, CarnefertInstitut Gustave RoussyMonoclonal antibodies
1960National Biomedical Research Foundation establishedLedleyGeorgetown UniversityDNA Sequencing
1960Sanger begins to devise ways to sequence nucleic acids, starting with RNASangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
20 Sep 1960Ernest Goodpasture diedGoodpastureHarvard UniversityVirology, Vaccine
19 Oct 1960Craig C Mello was born in New Haven CT, USAMelloUniversity of Massachusetts RNA interference
1961 - 1966Genetic code cracked for the first timeKhorana, HolleyUniversity of Wisconsin, Cornell UniversityDNA
1961Cesar Milstein is awarded a second doctorate in biochemistry at Cambridge UniversityMilsteinSir William Dunn School of Pathology 
1961Cesar Milstein takes up a position at the Instituto Malbran, Buenos AiresMilsteinInstituto Malbran 
1961Existence and properties of transplantable stem cells in mouse bone marrow established and the first methodology for counting them is devisedJames, Till, McCulloch, Siminovitch, Becker, Wu, FowleOntario Cancer InstituteStem cells
1961Normal cell population discovered to only be able to divide a limited number of times before it stopsHayflickWistar InstituteCell, Genetics, Oncology
31 Mar 1961Experiments reveal a type of RNA (messenger RNA) transports genetic information from the nucleus to the protein-making machinery in a cellBrenner, Crick, Jacob DNA, RNA, genetics
6 Apr 1961Jule Bordet diedBordetPasteur InstituteAntibodies, Immunology, Diagnostics
15 Apr 1961Carol W Greider was born in San Diego CA, USAGreiderJohns Hopkins University Genetics
22 Apr 1961Genes linked to X-chromosome inactivation in female mice embyosLyonCambridge UniversityEpigenetics, Embyology
May 1961Coding mechanism for DNA discoveredNirenberg, MatthaeiNational Institute for HealthDNA
16 Dec 1961First successful direct incorporation of functional DNA in human cellKrausUniversity of TennesseeGene therapy
25 Dec 1961Otto Loewi diedLoewiGraz UniversityNeuroscience

27 Apr 1959

Andrew Z Fire was born in Stanford CA, USA

25 Jul 1959

Mice injected with BCG vaccine shown to develop resistance to growth of implanted tumours. This was the first direct evidence of the immune system's ability to prevent cancer.

3 Aug 1959

Koichi Tanaka was born in Toyama City, Japan

1960

Cellular fusion technique formulated

1960

National Biomedical Research Foundation established

1960

Sanger begins to devise ways to sequence nucleic acids, starting with RNA

20 Sep 1960

Ernest Goodpasture died

19 Oct 1960

Craig C Mello was born in New Haven CT, USA

1961 - 1966

Genetic code cracked for the first time

1961

Cesar Milstein is awarded a second doctorate in biochemistry at Cambridge University

1961

Cesar Milstein takes up a position at the Instituto Malbran, Buenos Aires

1961

Existence and properties of transplantable stem cells in mouse bone marrow established and the first methodology for counting them is devised

1961

Normal cell population discovered to only be able to divide a limited number of times before it stops

31 Mar 1961

Experiments reveal a type of RNA (messenger RNA) transports genetic information from the nucleus to the protein-making machinery in a cell

6 Apr 1961

Jule Bordet died

15 Apr 1961

Carol W Greider was born in San Diego CA, USA

22 Apr 1961

Genes linked to X-chromosome inactivation in female mice embyos

May 1961

Coding mechanism for DNA discovered

16 Dec 1961

First successful direct incorporation of functional DNA in human cell

25 Dec 1961

Otto Loewi died