|1972: The first recombinant DNA
|In 1972, Paul Berg of Stanford University created
the first recombinant
by combining the DNA of two different organisms.
Berg used a restriction enzyme to isolate a gene from a human cancer-causing monkey virus. Then, he used ligase to join the section of virus DNA with a molecule of DNA from the bacterial virus lambda, creating the first recombinant DNA molecule. Berg realized the dangers of his experiment and temporarily terminated it before the recombinant DNA molecule was added to E. Coli, where it would have been quickly reproduced. Following the termination of his experiment, he proposed a one year moratorium on recombinant DNA studies while safety issues where addressed.
Berg later resumed his studies into recombinant DNA techniques, and was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry. His discoveries laid the foundation for field of genetic engineering, and the modern biotechnology industry.