Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Robert Holley and colleagues sequence Escherichia coli alanine transfer RNA, laying the foundation for DNA sequencing. 1965-01-01T00:00:00+0000The book contained all protein sequences known to-date. It was the result of a collective effort led by Margaret Dayhoff to co-ordinate the ever-growing amount of information about protein sequences and their biochemical function. It provided the model for GenBank and many other molecular databases. 1965-01-01T00:00:00+0000900 page monograph provides the first introduction to the application of digital computing in biology and medicine. 1965-01-01T00:00:00+0000Hench was a physician who helped discover cortisone, a hormone of the adrenal cortex, and demonstrate its utility for treating rheumatoid arthritis. He headed up the Department of Rheumatic Diseases at the the Mayo Clinic. Early on he hypothesised that steroids could alleviate the pain associated with the disease, but the difficulty and expense of production hindered his ability to try out his theory. The clinical trials were finally carried out in 1948 and 1949. Hench was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work in 1950.1965-03-30T00:00:00+0000The prediction was published in W. Arber, 'Host-controlled modification of bacteriophage', Annual Review Microbiology 19 (1965), 365-78. it was based on some research he carried out in the early 1960s with his doctoral student, Daisy Dussoix. They found that bacteria protect themselves against invading viruses by producing two types of enzymes. One cut up the DNA of the virus and the other restricted its growth. Arber believed these two enzymes could provide an important tool for cutting and pasting DNA, the method now used in genetic engineering. 1965-10-01T00:00:00+0000Erlanger shared the 1944 Nobel Prize for Medicine for research into the the actions of nerve fibers. 1965-12-05T00:00:00+0000S. Brenner, C. Milstein, 'Origin of antibody variation', Nature, 211 (1966), 242-3.1966-07-16T00:00:00+0000LJ Old, EA Boyse, E Oettgen, ED Harven, ED Geering, B Williamson, P Clifford, 'Precipitating antibody in human serum to an antigen present in cultured Burkitt's lymphoma cells', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 56 (1966), 1699–1704.1966-12-01T00:00:00+0000S. Rogers, ‘Shope papilloma virus: A passenger in man and its significance to the potential control of the host genome’, Nature, 212, 1120 (1966), 1220-22.1966-12-10T00:00:00+0000The sequencer was developed by Pehr Victor Edman with Geoffrey Begg1967-01-01T00:00:00+0000Muller was an American geneticist. He demonstrated that X-rays could change the genetic make-up fruit-flies and that the mutations could be passed on to subsequent generations. Published in 1927 this work attracted widespread attention it marked the first time the genetics of a species was intentionally altered. Muller's work opened up new understanding of how mutations are caused and heralded a revolution in genetics research. He was awarded he 1946 Nobel Prize for 'the discovery of the production of mutations by means of X-ray irradiation'.1967-04-15T00:00:00+0000Pincus was a biologist. He first came to public attention in 1934 when he announced the creation of baby rabbits with in vitro fertilisation. His technique involved the removal of an ovum from the mother rabbit, soaking it in a solution with a mixture of saline and estrone and then placing it back in the rabbit. The experiment could not be repeated by other scientists and prompted wide-scale condemnation. It cost him his tenure position at Harvard University. In order to continue his research Pincus helped found the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in 1944, where he led the development of the first contraceptive pill in the early 1950s. 1967-08-22T00:00:00+0000Ray Wu and A.D. Kaiser report on the partial sequence of bacteriophage lambda DNA in the Journal of Molecular Biology, 35/3 (1968), 523-37. 1968-01-01T00:00:00+0000The proceedure was performed by physician-scientist Robert Good to treat boy born with severe combined immunodeficiency. 1968-01-01T00:00:00+00001968-01-01T00:00:00+0000Florey was an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist. In 1941 he helped carry out the first clinical trials with penicillin which were undertaken at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. Florey and his team pioneered the first large-scale production of penicillin. In 1945 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in recognition of his work. 1968-02-21T00:00:00+0000Alexander was an American paediatrician and microbiologist. In the 1940s she developed the first effective treatment against Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), a major killer of infants. Her treatment helped reduced mortality from the disease from nearly 100 per cent to less than 25 per cent. It involved the combination of antiserum therapy with sulfa drugs. Alexander was also one of the first scientists to identify and study antibiotics resistance, which emerged out of her search for antibiotics to treat Hib. She worked out that the resistance was due to random genetic mutations in DNA that were positively selected through evolution.1968-06-24T00:00:00+0000Heymans, a pharmacologsit, won the 1938 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering how respiration is regulated by pressure sensory organs associated with the cartoid artery and aortic arch.1968-07-18T00:00:00+0000Dale was a British pharmacologist and physiologist who helped identify acetylcholine, the first neurotransmitter discovered, in 1914. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1936 on the basis of this work and uncovering the chemical process by which nerve impulses are transmitted. During the 1940s he drew up a scheme to differentiate neurons according to the neurotransmitters they release.1968-07-23T00:00:00+0000T. Friedmann, J.E. Seegmiller, J.H. Subak-Sharpe, 'Metabolic Cooperation between Genetically Marked Human Fibroblasts in Tissue Culture', Nature, 220 (1968), 272-74.1968-10-19T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
1965Transfer RNA is the first nucleic acid molecule to be sequencedHolleyCornell UniversityDNA Sequencing
1965First comprehensive protein sequence and structure computer data published as Atlas of Protein Sequence and StructureDayhoff, Eeek, LedleyNational Biomedical Research Foundation, Georgetown UniversityDNA Sequencing
1965Ledley publishes Uses of Computers in Biology and MedicineLedleyNational Biomedical Research FoundationDNA Sequencing
30 Mar 1965Philip Showalter Hench diedHenchMayo ClinicBiochemistry, Endocrinology
1 Oct 1965Werner Arber predicted restriction enzymes could be used as a labortory tool to cleave DNAArberUniversity of GenevaRestriction enzymes, Recombinant DNA, DNA Sequencing
5 Dec 1965Joseph Erlanger diedErlangerWashington University in St LouisNeuroscience
Jul 1966Cesar Milstein and Sydney Brenner publish theory attributing antibody diversity to somatic mutationBrenner, MilsteinLaboratory of Molecular BiologyAntibodies
Dec 1966Scientists detect antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus in patients with nasopharyngeal cancer which suggest the cancer is caused by a virus. Old, Boyse, OettgenMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Virology
10 Dec 1966First evidence published suggesting a virus could provide delivery tool for transferring functional genesRogersOak Ridge National LaboratoryGene therapy
1967First automatic protein sequencer developedEdman, BeggSt Vincent's School of Medical ResearchDNA, DNA Sequencing
15 Apr 1967Hermann J Muller diedMullerIndiana UniversityGenetics
22 Aug 1967Gregory Pincus diedPincusHarvard University, Worcester Foundation for Experimental BiologyReproduction
1968The first partial sequence of a viral DNA is reportedWu, KaiserCornell University, Stanford University Medical SchoolDNA Sequencing
1968First successful bone marrow transplant from a siblingGoodMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterImmunology, Stem cells, Transplantation
1968Paul Berg started experiments to generate recombinant DNA moleculesBergStanford UniversityRecombinant DNA
21 Feb 1968Howard Walter Florey diedFloreyOxford UniversityAntibacterial agents
24 Jun 1968Hattie Elizabeth Alexander diedAlexanderColumbia UniversityAntibacterial agents, Antimicrobial resistance
18 Jul 1968Corneille J F Heymans diedHeymansGhent UniversityRespiration
23 Jul 1968Henry H Dale diedDaleNational Institute for Medical ResearchNeuroscience
19 Oct 1968American scientists demonstrate that adding foreign genes to cultured cells from patients with Lesch-Nethan syndrome can correct genetic defects that cause the neurological diseaseFriedmann, SeegmillerNational Institutes of HealthGene therapy

1965

Transfer RNA is the first nucleic acid molecule to be sequenced

1965

First comprehensive protein sequence and structure computer data published as Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure

1965

Ledley publishes Uses of Computers in Biology and Medicine

30 Mar 1965

Philip Showalter Hench died

1 Oct 1965

Werner Arber predicted restriction enzymes could be used as a labortory tool to cleave DNA

5 Dec 1965

Joseph Erlanger died

Jul 1966

Cesar Milstein and Sydney Brenner publish theory attributing antibody diversity to somatic mutation

Dec 1966

Scientists detect antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus in patients with nasopharyngeal cancer which suggest the cancer is caused by a virus.

10 Dec 1966

First evidence published suggesting a virus could provide delivery tool for transferring functional genes

1967

First automatic protein sequencer developed

15 Apr 1967

Hermann J Muller died

22 Aug 1967

Gregory Pincus died

1968

The first partial sequence of a viral DNA is reported

1968

First successful bone marrow transplant from a sibling

1968

Paul Berg started experiments to generate recombinant DNA molecules

21 Feb 1968

Howard Walter Florey died

24 Jun 1968

Hattie Elizabeth Alexander died

18 Jul 1968

Corneille J F Heymans died

23 Jul 1968

Henry H Dale died

19 Oct 1968

American scientists demonstrate that adding foreign genes to cultured cells from patients with Lesch-Nethan syndrome can correct genetic defects that cause the neurological disease