Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Northrop shared the 1946 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for helping to develop the technique for purifying and crystallising enzymes and virus proteins. His work showed that enzymes obey the laws of chemical reactions and that they are proteins. In 1930 he crystallised pepsin, an enzyme present in gastric juice necessary for digestion. Eight years later he isolated the first bacterial virus (bacteriophage). This he proved to be a nucleoprotein. Other enzymes that he managed to isolate and crystalise were trypsin and chymotrypsin, both important to the digestive process. 1987-05-27T00:00:00+00001987-06-17T00:00:00+0000JF Brunet et al, 'A new member of the immunoglobulin superfamily--CTLA-4', Nature 328 (1987), 267-70. 1987-07-16T00:00:00+0000Medawar was a zoologist and biologist whose work on skin grafts demonstrated the principle of acquired immunological tolerance, the state by which substances originally considered foreign become regarded as self by the immune system. His work helped improve the success of tissue and organ transplants. In 1960 Medawar was awarded the Nobel Prize for the work he did in the area. 1987-10-02T00:00:00+0000Capecchi, M, 'Site-directed mutagenesis by gene targeting in mouse embyo-derived stem cells', Cell, 51/3 (1987), 503-12.1987-11-06T00:00:00+0000C Doyle, JL Strominger, 'Interaction between CD4 and class II MHC molecules mediates cell adhesion', Nature, 330 (1987), 256-9.1987-11-19T00:00:00+0000Ishino Y, Shinagawa H, Makino K, Amemura M, Nakata A (December 1987). "Nucleotide sequence of the iap gene, responsible for alkaline phosphatase isozyme conversion in Escherichia coli, and identification of the gene product". Journal of Bacteriology 169 (12): 5429–5433; Takase, I, Ishino, F, Wachi, M, et al, 'Genes encoding two lipoproteins in the leuS-dacA region of the Escherichia coli chromosome', Journal of Bacteriology, 169/12 (1987): 5692-99.1987-12-01T00:00:00+0000Leloir, an Argentinian physician and biochemist, won the 1970 winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for 'his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates.' 1987-12-02T00:00:00+0000Blood stem cells from the umbilical cord are understood, theoretically, to be both especially potent and unlikely to provoke a strong immunological response in the recipient. 1988-01-01T00:00:00+0000Campath-1G is humanised, resulting in Campath-1H. It is accomplished with technology developed by Greg Winter.1988-01-01T00:00:00+0000This patent is filed on the basis of work reported in M Brüggeman, HM Caskey, C Teale, H Waldmann, Williams, Surani, and MS Neuberger, A repertoire of monoclonal antibodies with human heavy chains from transgenic mice, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 86 (Sept 1989), 6709-13. 1988-01-01T00:00:00+0000Funding secured for precursor of the Human Genome Project. US$10.7 million provided by Department of Energery and US$17.2 million by National Institutes of Health.1988-01-01T00:00:00+00001988-01-01T00:00:00+0000Steptoe was an obstetrtician and gynaecologist who co-pioneered in vitro fertilization, the technique that produced the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. This involved collecting ova from Louise's mother using laparoscopy. While Steptoe faced a lot of criticism for his work, many clinics began offering IVF following the birth of Louise. 1988-03-21T00:00:00+0000This method, called FASTA, is published by William R Pearson and David J Lipman in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 85/8 (April 1988), 2444-8. This is now a common tool for bioinformatics. It allos for the comparison and aligning of sequences. 1988-04-01T00:00:00+0000USPTO patent 4,736,866 awarded for transgenic mouse with activated oncogenes created by Philip Leder and Timonthy A Stewart at Harvard University. The two scientists isolated a gene that causes cancer in many mammals, including humans, and inserted it into fertilised mouse eggs. The aim was to genetically engineer a mouse as a model for furthering cancer research and the testing of new drugs. It was the first animal ever given patent protection in the USA. 1988-04-12T00:00:00+0000G Degiovanni et al, European Journal Immunology, 18 (1988+), 671-6; Knuth et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 86 (1989), 2804-08; Van den Eynde et al, International Journal of Cancer, 15 /44 (1989), 634-40. 1988-05-01T00:00:00+0000CE Rudd, JM Trevillyan, JD Dasgupta, LL Wong, SF Schlossman, 'The CD4 receptor is complexed in detergent lysates to a protein-tyrosine kinase (Pp58) from human T lymphocytes', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 85 (1988), 5190-94.1988-07-01T00:00:00+0000 GJ Spangrude, S Heimfeld, IL Weissman, 'Purification and characterization of mouse hematopoietic stem cells', Science, 241 (1988), 58-62. 1988-07-01T00:00:00+00001988-07-14T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
May 1987John H Northrop diedNorthropRockefeller Institute Biochemistry
Jun 1987The patent for PCR with Taq ploymerase is filedMullis  
Jul 1987Identification of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4)Brunet, Denizot, Luciani, Roux-Dosseto, Suzan, Mattei, GolsteinINSERM-CNRSImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
2 Oct 1987Peter Medawar diedMedawarUniversity College LondonImmunology, Transplantation
6 Nov 1987Publication of gene targeting technique for targetting mutations in any geneThomas, CapecchiUniversity of UtahGene editing, Transgenic animals
Nov 1987First evidence provided for the interaction between the surface molecule CD4 and major histocompatibility class IIDoyle, StromingerHarvard UniversityImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
Dec 1987Discovery of CRISPR mechanismAmemura, Ishino, Makino, Nakata, Shinagawa, Takase, WachiOsaka UniversityCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
2 Dec 1987Luis F Leloir diedLeloirInstitute for Biochemical ResearchBiochemistry
1988First reported clinical use of umbilical cord bloodBroxmeyerIndiana UniversityStem cells
1988Campath-1H is created - the first clinically useful humanised monoclonal antibody.Winter, Waldmann, Reichmann, ClarkCambridge University, Laboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies, Recombinant DNA, Campath
1988Patent application filed for a method to create transgenic mice for the production of human antibodiesBruggeman, Caskey, Neuberger, Surani, Teale, Waldmann, WilliamsLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Babraham Institute, Cambridge UniversityMonoclonal antibodies, gene cloning, transgenic animals
1988US Congress funds genome sequencing  DNA Sequencing, Genomics
1988Beverly Griffin appointed first woman professor at Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith HospitalGriffinImperial College 
21 Mar 1988Patrick Steptoe diedSteptoe Reproduction
Apr 1988Development of first rapid search computer programme to identify genes in a new sequencePearson, Lipman DNA Sequencing, Genomics
12 Apr 1988OncoMouse patent grantedLeder, StewartHarvard UniversityTransgenic animals, Oncology, Recombinant DNA, Gene editing
May 1988 - Oct 1989Cytotoxic T lymphocytes shown to recognise distinct surface markers on human melanomaWolfel, Knuth, Degiovanni, Van den Eynde, Hainaut, BoonLudwig Institute for Cancer ResearchImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
Jul 1988Biochemical initiators of T Cell activitation, CD4 and CD8-p56, discoveredRudd, Trevillyan, Dasupta, Wong, SchlossmanDana-Faber Cancer Institute, Harvard University, Tech UniversityImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology
1 Jul 1988The first hematopoietic stem cells were isolated in miceSpangrude, Heimfeld, WeissmanStanford UniversityStem cells
1988 - 1989First evidence discovered of a physical link between oncoproteins and tumour suppressors  Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology

1988

John H Northrop died

Jun 1987

The patent for PCR with Taq ploymerase is filed

Jul 1987

Identification of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4)

2 Oct 1987

Peter Medawar died

6 Nov 1987

Publication of gene targeting technique for targetting mutations in any gene

Nov 1987

First evidence provided for the interaction between the surface molecule CD4 and major histocompatibility class II

Dec 1987

Discovery of CRISPR mechanism

2 Dec 1987

Luis F Leloir died

1988

First reported clinical use of umbilical cord blood

1988

Campath-1H is created - the first clinically useful humanised monoclonal antibody.

1988

Patent application filed for a method to create transgenic mice for the production of human antibodies

1988

US Congress funds genome sequencing

1988

Beverly Griffin appointed first woman professor at Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital

21 Mar 1988

Patrick Steptoe died

Apr 1988

Development of first rapid search computer programme to identify genes in a new sequence

12 Apr 1988

OncoMouse patent granted

May 1988 - Oct 1989

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes shown to recognise distinct surface markers on human melanoma

Jul 1988

Biochemical initiators of T Cell activitation, CD4 and CD8-p56, discovered

1 Jul 1988

The first hematopoietic stem cells were isolated in mice

1988 - 1989

First evidence discovered of a physical link between oncoproteins and tumour suppressors