Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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This was prompted by the publication of the recombinant DNA experpiments published by Berg, Jackson and Symons1972-11-01T00:00:00+0000Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer publish genetic engineering techniques to cut and paste DNA (using restriction enzymes and ligases) and reproduce the new DNA in bacteria1973-01-01T00:00:00+0000Niels Jerne, Danish immunologist, electrifies research into antibodies with his proposition that within the body there are a vast number of immune responses going on all the time and that antibodies form not only to external antigens but also in response to internal antigens within the body. 1973-01-01T00:00:00+0000Kohler hears Milstein present work on myeloma cellular fusions and asks to join Milstein's team in Cambridge1973-01-01T00:00:00+0000This is achieved by Walter Gilbert and Allan Maxam at Harvard University using a method known as wandering-spot analysis.1973-01-01T00:00:00+0000The transplant was carried out by Richard O'Reilly and Robert Good. This lays the foundation for the routine use of bone marrow transplants for treating some blood cancers. Such transplants are classed as immunotherapy because immune cells from the donor kill cancer cells in the recipient. 1973-01-01T00:00:00+0000Milstein and Cotton's create hybrid cell to study allelenic exclusion in antibodies. Reported in R.G.H. Cotton, C. Milstein, 'Fusion of two immunoglobulin-producing myeloma cells', Nature 244 (1973), 42-3. This work lays the foundation for the later development of monoclonal antibodies.1973-07-06T00:00:00+0000Hess was a Swiss physiologist who identified parts of the brain that control internal organs. He used brain stimulation techniques using electrodes to map regions of the brain associated with specific physiological responses. He also found it possible to induce excitement and apathy by stimulating different parts of the hypothalamus. 1973-08-12T00:00:00+0000Waksman was a biochemist and microbiologist. He was the first to coin the term 'antibiotic' and was responsible for the development of many different antibiotics, including streptomycin, used to treat tuberculosis.1973-08-16T00:00:00+0000The National Institutes of Health forms a Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee to oversee recombinant genetic research.1974-01-01T00:00:00+00001974-01-01T00:00:00+00001974-01-01T00:00:00+0000O Stutman, 'Tumor development after 3-methylcholanthrene in immunologically deficient athymic-nude mice', Science, 183 (1974), 534-6.1974-02-08T00:00:00+0000Sutherland was a American pharmacologist and biochemist. He determined how hormones work through the isolation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. This he demonstrated acts as a second messenger in cells and has an important role in the actions of hormones at the cellular level. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1971 on the back of this work. 1974-03-09T00:00:00+0000The investigation into somatic mutation lays the basis for the hunt for an antibody which has known specificity for particular antigens.1974-06-01T00:00:00+0000Berg, P, Baltimore, D, Boyer, J W, Cohen, S N, et al, 'Biohazards of Recombinant DNA,' Science, 185 (1974): 3034.1974-07-05T00:00:00+0000Asilomar Conference in California declares moratorium on genetic engineering research in order to have time to estimate the biohazard risks of recombinant DNA research and develop guidelines.1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000Cesar Milstein, an Argentinian scientist, and Georges Kohler, a German scientist, develop the first long-lasting monoclonal antibodies as part of their basic research project to investigate the mechanism behind the diversity of antibodies. 1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000Swiss-born immunologist Walter Gerhard cultivates single antibodies with known specificity against influenza viruses using Klinman's splenic fragment technique.1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000The Argentinian born scientists Claudio Cuello and Cesar Milstein generate a monoclonal antibody against substance P, a peptide involved in the neurotransmission of pain. This marks the first application of monoclonal antibodies to neuroscience paving the way to an explosion of research into the brain the central nervous system bringing with it better understandings of neurological disease and neuropharmacological intervention. The work is published in A.C. Cuello, G. Galfre, C. Milstein, 'Detection of substance P in the central nervous system by a monoclonal antibody', Proceedings of the National Academy Science, USA, 76 (1979), 3532-6. 1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
1 Nov 1972Nature editorial voiced concern about generating recombinant DNABerg, Jackson, SymonsStanford UniversityRecombinant DNA
1973Recombinant DNA produced in bacteriaCohen, BoyerStanford University Medical School, University of California San Francisco Recombinant DNA
1973Antibody network theoryJerneBasel Institute of ImmunologyAntibodies
1973Cesar Milstein meets Georges Kohler at the Basel Institute of ImmunologyKohler, MilsteinBasel Institute of ImmunologyAntibodies
1973The sequencing of 24 basepairs is reportedGilbert, MaxamHarvard UniversityDNA Sequencing
1973First successful bone marrow transplant from unrelated donorGood, O'ReillyMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Stem, cells, Transplantation, Oncology
Jul 1973Cesar Milstein and Dick Cotton report the successful fusion of two different myeloma cell lines, one from a mouse and the other from a ratCotton, MilsteinLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
12 Aug 1973Walter R Hess diedHessUniversity of ZurichNeuroscience
16 Aug 1973Selman A Waksman diedWaksmanRutgers UniversityAntibacterial agents
1974Regulation begins for recombinant genetic research  Recombinant DNA
1974First publication on inserting foreign DNA into miceJaenisch, MintzSalk Institute, Fox Chase Institute for Cancer ResearchTransgenic animals
1974The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is founded EMBL 
8 Feb 1974Immune surveillance theory that immune system provides protection against cancer discredited by research showing that 'Nude' mice lacking immune system function no more likely to develop tumours than normal miceStutmanMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
9 Mar 1974Earl W Sutherland diedSutherlandVanderbilt UniversityCell, Endocrinology
Jun 1974Georges Kohler joins Cesar Milstein's research team to investigate somatic mutation and antibody diversityKohler, MilsteinLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
Jul 1974First concerns about potential biohazards of recombinant DNA publishedBerg, Baltimore, Boyer, Cohen Recombinant DNA
1975Temporary moratorium on genetic engineeringBerg Recombinant DNA
Jan 1975Unlimited long-surviving monoclonal antibodies createdMilstein, KohlerLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies
1975Short-lasting antibodies against influenza virus devisedGerhardWistar InstituteMonoclonal antibodies
1975 - 1979First monoclonal antibody created to target a neurotransmitter peptideMilstein, CuelloLaboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit, Oxford UniversityMonoclonal antibodies

1 Nov 1972

Nature editorial voiced concern about generating recombinant DNA

1973

Recombinant DNA produced in bacteria

1973

Antibody network theory

1973

Cesar Milstein meets Georges Kohler at the Basel Institute of Immunology

1973

The sequencing of 24 basepairs is reported

1973

First successful bone marrow transplant from unrelated donor

Jul 1973

Cesar Milstein and Dick Cotton report the successful fusion of two different myeloma cell lines, one from a mouse and the other from a rat

12 Aug 1973

Walter R Hess died

16 Aug 1973

Selman A Waksman died

1974

Regulation begins for recombinant genetic research

1974

First publication on inserting foreign DNA into mice

1974

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is founded

8 Feb 1974

Immune surveillance theory that immune system provides protection against cancer discredited by research showing that 'Nude' mice lacking immune system function no more likely to develop tumours than normal mice

9 Mar 1974

Earl W Sutherland died

Jun 1974

Georges Kohler joins Cesar Milstein's research team to investigate somatic mutation and antibody diversity

Jul 1974

First concerns about potential biohazards of recombinant DNA published

1975

Temporary moratorium on genetic engineering

Jan 1975

Unlimited long-surviving monoclonal antibodies created

1975

Short-lasting antibodies against influenza virus devised

1975 - 1979

First monoclonal antibody created to target a neurotransmitter peptide