Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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The full 97 Mbp genome of Caenorhabditis elegans is found to have more than 19,000 genes.1998-12-11T00:00:00+0000Hodgkin shared the 1963 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane.'1998-12-20T00:00:00+0000Sequence of the first human chromosome (22) is published. 1999-01-01T00:00:00+0000Identified by Jonas Frisen and colleagues1999-01-01T00:00:00+0000Part of research to understand viral resistance in plants. A J Hamilton, D C Baulcombe, 'A species of small antisense RNA in posttranscriptional gene silencing in plants', Sciene, 29, 286/5441 (1999), 950-2.1999-01-01T00:00:00+0000Elion shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 'discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.'1999-02-21T00:00:00+0000Fraenkel-Conrat was a German biochemist who discovered that RNA was pivotal to the genetic control of viral reproduction. 1999-04-10T00:00:00+0000Vijay Singh, head of largescale cell culture at Schering-Plough, publishes details of a disposable bioreactor for cell culture using wave-induced agitation. This provides for a major advance in the manufacture of biologicals. 1999-07-01T00:00:00+0000M. Toyota, N. Ahuja, M. Ohe-Toyota, J.G. Herman, S.B. Baylin, J-P.J. Issa, 'CpG island methylator phenotype in colorectal cancer', PNAS, 96/15 (1999), 8681–86.1999-07-20T00:00:00+0000Jesse Gelsinger, an 18 year old, died after suffering a severe immune response to an adenoviral vector in a dose escalation trial testing gene therapy for ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, an inherited metabolic disorder. His death led to a major reappraisal of gene therapy and stricter regulations for clinical trials investigating gene therapy.1999-09-17T00:00:00+0000H.D. Morgan, H.G. Sutherland, D.I. Martin, E. Whitelaw, 'Epigenetic inheritance at the agouti locus in the mouse', Nature Genetics, 23 (1991), 314–18.1999-11-01T00:00:00+0000Nathans was an American molecular biologist who co-discovered restriction enzymes and their applications to break DNA molecules. 1999-11-16T00:00:00+0000Together with Herbert Boyer, Swanson helped found Genentech, the first biotechnology company dedicated to commercialising recombinant DNA. From 1976 to 1990 Swanson was Chief Executive and Director of the company and played an instrumental role in leading it to become the first major biotechnology company to show a profit and go public. 1999-12-06T00:00:00+0000Treatment uses procedure devised by Bordignon.1999-12-01T00:00:00+00002000-01-01T00:00:00+0000Identified by Jonas Frisen and colleagues2000-01-01T00:00:00+00002000-01-01T00:00:00+0000Boys participating in multi-centre trial using procedure devised by Bordignon2000-01-01T00:00:00+0000Launched by the biotechnology company Medarex in collaboration with Jim Allison. 2000-01-01T00:00:00+0000Mojica F J, Diez-Villasenor C, Soria E, Juez G, 'Biological significance of a family of regularly spaced repeats in the genomes of Archaea, Bacteria and mitochondria', Molecular Microbiology 36/1 (April 2000): 244–6.2000-01-18T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Dec 1998Complete genome sequence of the first multicellular organism, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, is published Sanger Institute, Washington UniversityDNA Sequencing, Genomics
20 Dec 1998Alan Lloyd Hodgkin diedHodgkinCambridge UniversityNeuroscience
1999First human chromosome sequence published  DNA Sequencing, Genomics
1999Adult neural stem cells identified as capable of forming new neural stem cellsFrisenKarolinska InstitutetStem cells
1999Discovery of small interfering RNA (siRNA), very small stretches of double-stranded RNA, interfere with genesBaulcombe, Hamilton John Innes CentreRNA interference
21 Feb 1999Gertrude B Elion diedElionWellcome Research LaboratoriesPharmacology
10 Apr 1999Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat diedFraenkel-Conrat University of California BerkeleyGenetics, Virology
Jul 1999Disposable bioreactor developed Schering-Plough 
20 Jul 1999DNA methylation of CpG islands shown to be linked to colorectal cancerToyota, Ahuja, Ohe-Toyota, Herman, Baylin, IssaJohns Hopkins UniversityDNA methylation, Epigenetics, Oncology
Sep 1999Death of the first patient in a gene therapy trial prompts major setback for the fieldGelsinger, WilsonUniversity of PennsylvaniaGene therapy
Nov 1999First evidence from mammals that epigenetic changes can be passed down generations Morgan, Sutherland, Martin, WhitelawUniversity of SydneyEpigenetics
16 Nov 1999Daniel Nathans diedNathans Johns Hopkins University Restriction enzymes, Recombinant DNA
6 Dec 1999Robert Swanson died in Hillsborough, California, USASwanson  
1999 - 2002Multi-centre trials with gene therapy using stem cells to treat children with SCIDBordignon Gene therapy
2000Complete sequences of the genomes of the fruit fly Drosophila and the first plant, Arabidopsis, are published  DNA Sequencing, Genomics
2000Adult stem cells recognised as having potential to generate variety of cells for other organsFrisenKarolinska InstitutetStem cells
2000Retinal stem cells identified in mice   Stem cells
2000Two French boys suffering from SCID reported to be cured using gene therapy  Gene therapy
2000First clinical trials launched to test first immune checkpoint inhibitor drug containing a monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4 (ipilimumab, Yervoy®)AllisonMedarex, University of California BerkleyImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
18 Jan 2000More clustered repeats of DNA identified in other bacteria and archaea, termed Short Regularly Spaced Repeats (SRSR)Mojica, Diez-Villasenor, Soria, Juez University of Alicante, University Miguel HernandezCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing

Dec 1998

Complete genome sequence of the first multicellular organism, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, is published

20 Dec 1998

Alan Lloyd Hodgkin died

1999

First human chromosome sequence published

1999

Adult neural stem cells identified as capable of forming new neural stem cells

1999

Discovery of small interfering RNA (siRNA), very small stretches of double-stranded RNA, interfere with genes

21 Feb 1999

Gertrude B Elion died

10 Apr 1999

Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat died

10 Apr 1999

Disposable bioreactor developed

20 Jul 1999

DNA methylation of CpG islands shown to be linked to colorectal cancer

Sep 1999

Death of the first patient in a gene therapy trial prompts major setback for the field

Nov 1999

First evidence from mammals that epigenetic changes can be passed down generations

16 Nov 1999

Daniel Nathans died

6 Dec 1999

Robert Swanson died in Hillsborough, California, USA

1999 - 2002

Multi-centre trials with gene therapy using stem cells to treat children with SCID

2000

Complete sequences of the genomes of the fruit fly Drosophila and the first plant, Arabidopsis, are published

2000

Adult stem cells recognised as having potential to generate variety of cells for other organs

2000

Retinal stem cells identified in mice

2000

Two French boys suffering from SCID reported to be cured using gene therapy

2000

First clinical trials launched to test first immune checkpoint inhibitor drug containing a monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4 (ipilimumab, Yervoy®)

18 Jan 2000

More clustered repeats of DNA identified in other bacteria and archaea, termed Short Regularly Spaced Repeats (SRSR)