Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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This was done in Dale Kaiser's laboratory by Douglas Berg together with Janet Mertz and David Jackson1971-01-01T00:00:00+0000The 12 base sequence of bacteriophage lambda DNA is published by Ray Wu and Ellen Taylor in the Journal of Molecular Biology, 57 (1971) 0, 491-511. 1971-05-01T00:00:00+0000Robert Pollack contacted Paul Berg to raise concerns about the potential biohazards of experiments his doctoral research plans to do involving the introduction of genes from the oncovirus SV40 in the human gut bacteria, E-Coli. Following this Berg self-imposed a moratorium on experiments in his laboratory involving the cloning of SV40 in E-Coli. 1971-06-01T00:00:00+0000H. O. Sjogren, I. Hellstrom, S. C. Bansal, K. E. Hellstom, 'Suggestive evidence that the blocking antibodies of tumor-bearing individuals may be antigen--antibody complexes', PNAS, USA, 1971, 68/6, 1372-5. 1971-06-01T00:00:00+0000Stanley was an American biochemist and virologist. In 1935 he managed to crystalise the tobacco virus, the causative agent of plant disease. This was a major breakthrough because prior to this no scientists had succeeded in finding out what viruses were. His work laid the foundation for other scientists, using x-ray diffraction, to work out the precise molecular structures and reproduction process of several viruses. During World War II he managed to purify several of the most common influenza viruses and developed a vaccine that was partly effective. In 1946 he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the 'preparation of enzymes and virus proteins in a pure form.' 1971-06-15T00:00:00+0000Bragg was a physicist. He shared the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics with his father, William Henry Bragg, for the development of x-ray crystallography. The technique proved important for deciphering the crystal structure of proteins and later DNA.1971-07-01T00:00:00+0000Houssay was an Argentinian physiologist. He is best known for having discovered how the pituitary gland regulates glucose or blood sugar levels. This he determined while studying the pituitary gland in dogs and toads during the early 1940s. In 1947 he was awarded the Nobel Prize on the back of this achievement. He was the first Latin American to receive the Nobel Laureate in the sciences. The award was particularly poignant given that four years before he had been dismissed by the Argentinian military government from his position at the University of Buenos Aires Medical school where he had built up an internationally respected department in experimental physiology and medicine from 1919. He was later reinstated in 1955 following the fall of Juan Peron from power.1971-09-21T00:00:00+0000A Swedish biochemist, Tiselius developed the devise electrophoresis to separate and measure charged particles through a stationary liquid in an electric field. He also pioneered synthetic blood plasma.1971-10-29T00:00:00+0000The power of restriction enzymes to cut DNA was demonstrated by Kathleen Danna, a graduate student, with Daniel Nathans, her doctoral supervisor, at Johns Hopkins University. They published the technique in PNAS, 68/12 (1971), 2913-17.1971-12-01T00:00:00+00001972-01-01T00:00:00+00001972-01-01T00:00:00+00001972-01-01T00:00:00+0000An American pathologist, Rous won the 1966 Nobel Prize for showing how viruses could cause cancer. He demonstrated this in 1910 by transplanting some material from a cancer tumour taken from a chicken into a healthy chicken. The healthy chicken developed cancer. Other scientists struggled to replicate his experiment in mammals so his discovery was initially dismissed. 1972-02-16T00:00:00+0000T. Friedmann, R. Roblin, 'Gene therapy for human genetic disease?'. Science, 175/4025 (1972), 949-55.1972-03-03T00:00:00+0000Kendall made several contributions to biochemistry and medicine. He is best known for isolating the steroid cortisone from the adrenal gland cortex, subsequently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1950. He also isolated thyroxine, the main hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which is vital to digestion, heart and muscle function and brain development and bone maintenance. 1972-05-04T00:00:00+0000Signed by President Nixon, the key architect of the legislation was Bernice Sandler. She was a part-time lecturer at University of Maryland who was denied tenure-track positions three times. This was despite her success in being short-listed. Each time it was claimed she was ‘too strong for a woman’ to be appointed. 1972-06-23T00:00:00+0000Theiler won the 1951 Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to develop a vaccine against yellow fever. 1972-08-11T00:00:00+0000This took place during an unscheduled extra session held at a three-day EMBO workshop on DNA restriction and modification. The session was chaired by Norton Zinder.1972-09-26T00:00:00+0000D A Jackson, R H Symons, P Berg, 'Biochemical Method for Inserting New Genetic Information into DNA of Simian Virus 40: Circular SV40 DNA Molecules Containing Lambda Phage Genes and the Galactose Operon of Escherichia coli', PNAS USA, 69/10 (1972), 2904-09.1972-10-01T00:00:00+0000The technique was developed by Janet Mertz and Ronald Davis at Stanford University. J. Mertz, R. Davis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 69/11, pp. 2270-74. 1972-11-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
1971First plasmid bacterial cloning vector constructedBerg, Mertz, JacksonStanford UniversityRecombinant DNA
May 1971Complete sequence of bacteriophage lambda DNA reportedWu, TaylorCornell UniversityDNA Sequencing
Jun 1971First time potential biohazards of recombinant DNA raisedMertz, Berg, PollackStanford UniversityRecombinant DNA
Jun 1971Hellstom team suggest that antibodies bound to tumour cells mask their detection by the immune system Sjogren, Hellstrom, BansalFred Hutchinson Cancer CenterImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
15 Jun 1971Wendell M Stanley diedStanleyRockefeller InstituteBiochemistry, Virology, Vaccine
1 Jul 1971William Lawrence Bragg diedBraggCavendish LaboratoryX ray crystallography
21 Sep 1971Bernardo Alberto Houssay diedHoussayUniversity of Buenos AiresMetabolism
29 Oct 1971Arne W K Tiselius diedTiseliusUppsala UniversityBiochemistry
Dec 1971First experiments published demonstrating the use of restriction enzymes to cut DNADanna, NathansJohns Hopkins UniversityRestriction enzymes, Recombinant DNA, DNA Sequencing
1972US National Cancer Institute recommended creation of international registry of immunotherapy trials  Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
1972Wistar Instute named National Cancer Institute - first research institution to gain such a title Wistar InstituteOncology
1972Beverly Griffin appointed head of nuclear acids research at Imperial Cancer Research FundGriffinImperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories 
16 Feb 1972Francis Peyton Rous diedRousRockefeller UniversityVirology, Oncology
3 Mar 1972First time gene therapy proposed as treatment for genetic disordersFriedmann, RoblinSalk InstituteGene therapy
4 May 1972Edward Calvin Kendall diedKendallMayo ClinicEndocrinology
23 Jun 1972Title IX Act signed, ending quotas against appointing women to US university positions, including scienceSandler  
11 Aug 1972Max Theiler diedTheiler Vaccine
Sep 1972 - Sep 1972First time possible biohazards of recombinant DNA technology publicly discussedZinder Recombinant DNA
Oct 1972First paper published on generating recombinant DNABerg, Jackson, SymonsStanford UniversityRecombinant DNA
Nov 1972First easy-to-use technique published for constructing recombinant DNA. Berg, MertzStanford University Medical SchoolRecombinant DNA

1971

First plasmid bacterial cloning vector constructed

May 1971

Complete sequence of bacteriophage lambda DNA reported

Jun 1971

First time potential biohazards of recombinant DNA raised

Jun 1971

Hellstom team suggest that antibodies bound to tumour cells mask their detection by the immune system

15 Jun 1971

Wendell M Stanley died

1 Jul 1971

William Lawrence Bragg died

21 Sep 1971

Bernardo Alberto Houssay died

29 Oct 1971

Arne W K Tiselius died

Dec 1971

First experiments published demonstrating the use of restriction enzymes to cut DNA

1972

US National Cancer Institute recommended creation of international registry of immunotherapy trials

1972

Wistar Instute named National Cancer Institute - first research institution to gain such a title

1972

Beverly Griffin appointed head of nuclear acids research at Imperial Cancer Research Fund

16 Feb 1972

Francis Peyton Rous died

3 Mar 1972

First time gene therapy proposed as treatment for genetic disorders

4 May 1972

Edward Calvin Kendall died

23 Jun 1972

Title IX Act signed, ending quotas against appointing women to US university positions, including science

11 Aug 1972

Max Theiler died

Sep 1972 - Sep 1972

First time possible biohazards of recombinant DNA technology publicly discussed

Oct 1972

First paper published on generating recombinant DNA

Nov 1972

First easy-to-use technique published for constructing recombinant DNA.