Time Line of Genetics
* The Sumerians brew beer.
* The Chinese use moldy soybean curds as an antibiotic to treat boils.
* Powdered chrysanthemum is used in China as an insecticide.
* The microscope is invented by Janssen.
* Cells are first described by Hooke.
* Leeuwenhoek discovers bacteria.
* Jenner inoculates a child with a viral vaccine to protect him from smallpox.
* Proteins are discovered.
* The first enzymes are isolated.
* The Escherichia coli (E. Coli) bacterium is discovered. It later becomes a major research, development and production tool for biotechnology.
* Mendel, in his study of peas, discovers that traits are transmitted from parents to progeny by discrete, independent units, later called genes. His observations laid the groundwork for the field of genetics.
* Miescher discovers DNA in the sperm of trout.
* A technique for staining and identifying bacteria is developed by Koch.
* The first centrifuge is developed by Laval.
* Fleming discovers chromatin, the rod-like structures inside the cell nucleus that later came to be called chromosomes.
* In Michigan, Darwin devotee William James Beal makes the first clinically controlled crosses of corn in search of colossal yields.
* Drosophila (fruit flies) used in early studies of genes.
* The term "immunology" first appears.
* The term "genetics" is introduced.
* The first cancer-causing virus is discovered by Rous.
* Bacteria are used to treat sewage for the first time in Manchester, England.
* Phages, or bacterial viruses, are discovered.
* The word "biotechnology" is first used by a Hungarian agricultural engineer.
* The human growth hormone is discovered by Evans and Long.
* Fleming discovers penicillin, the first antibiotic.
* The term "molecular biology" is coined.
* American Oswald Avery demonstrates that DNA is the "transforming factor" and is the material of genes.
* The term "genetic engineering" is first used by Danish microbiologist A. Jost in a lecture on sexual reproduction in yeast at the technical Institute in Lwow, Poland.
* The electron microscope is used to identify and characterize a bacteriophage - a virus that infects bacteria.
* Waksman isolates streptomycin, an effective antibiotic for TB.
* Discovery that genetic material from different viruses can be combined to form a new type of virus, an example of genetic recombination.
* McClintock discovers transposable elements, or "jumping genes," in corn.
* Pauling shows that sickle cell anemia is a "molecular disease" resulting from a mutation in the protein molecule hemoglobin.
* Artificial insemination of livestock using frozen semen (a longtime dream of farmers) is successfully accomplished.
* Nature publishes James Watson's and Francis Crick's manuscript describing the double helical structure of DNA, which marks the beginning of the modern era of genetics.
* Cell-culturing techniques are developed.
* An enzyme involved in the synthesis of a nucleic acid is isolated for the first time.
* The fermentation process is perfected in Japan. Kornberg discovers the enzyme DNA polymerase I, leading to an understanding of how DNA is replicated.
* Sickle cell anemia is shown to occur due to a change of a single amino acid.
* Systemic fungicides are developed. The steps in protein biosynthesis are delineated.
* Exploiting base pairing, hybrid DNA-RNA molecules are created.
* Messenger RNA is discovered.
* The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines starts the Green Revolution with new strains of rice that double the yield of previous strains if given sufficient fertilizer.
* Harris and Watkins successfully fuse mouse and human cells.
* The genetic code is cracked, demonstrating that a sequence of three nucleotide bases (a condon) determines each of 20 amino acids.
* The first automatic protein sequencer is perfected.
* An enzyme is synthesized in vitro for the first time.
* Specific restriction nucleases are identified, opening the way for gene cloning.
* First complete synthesis of a gene.
* Discovery of restriction enzymes that cut and splice genetic material.
* The DNA composition of humans is discovered to be 99 percent similar to that of chimpanzees and gorillas.
* Initial work with embryo transfer.
* Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer perfect genetic engineering techniques to cut and paste DNA (using restriction enzymes and ligases) and reproduce the new DNA in bacteria.
* The National Institutes of Health forms a Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee to oversee recombinant genetic research.
* Asilomar Conference (moratorium on genetic engineering research).
* The first monoclonal antibodies are produced.
* The tools of recombinant DNA are first applied to a human inherited disorder.
* Molecular hybridization is used for the prenatal diagnosis of alpha thalassemia.
* Yeast genes are expressed in E. coli bacteria.
* DNA sequencing discovered; first working synthetic gene.
* First expression of human gene in bacteria.
Methods for reading DNA sequence using electrophoresis are discovered.
* High-level structure of virus first identified.
* Recombinant human insulin first produced.
* North Carolina scientists show it is possible to introduce specific mutations at specific sites in a DNA molecule.
* Human growth hormone first synthesized.
* The U.S. Supreme Court, in the landmark case Diamond v. Chakrabarty, approves the principle of patenting genetically engineered life forms, which allows the Exxon oil company to patent an oil-eating microorganism.
* The U.S. patent for gene cloning is awarded to Cohen and Boyer.
* The first gene-synthesizing machines are developed.
* Researchers successfully introduce a human gene - one that codes for the protein interferon - into a bacterium.
* Scientists at Ohio University produce the first transgenic animals by transferring genes from other animals into mice.
* Chinese scientist become the first to clone a fish - a golden carp.
* Applied Biosystems, Inc., introduces the first commercial gas phase protein sequencer, dramatically reducing the amount of protein sample needed for sequencing.
* The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique is conceived. PCR, which uses heat and enzymes to make unlimited copies of genes and gene fragments, later becomes a major tool in biotech research and product development worldwide.
* The first genetic transformation of plant cells by TI plasmids is performed.
* The first artificial chromosome is synthesized.
The first genetic markers for specific inherited diseases are found.
* The DNA fingerprinting technique is developed.
* The first genetically engineered vaccine is developed.
* The entire genome of the HIV virus is cloned and sequenced.
* Genetic marking found for kidney disease and cystic fibrosis.
* Genetic fingerprinting enters the courtroom.
* Genetically engineered plants resistant to insects, viruses and bacteria are field tested for the first time.
* The NIH approves guidelines for performing experiments in gene therapy on humans.
* University of California, Berkeley chemist describes how to combine antibodies and enzymes (abzymes) to create pharmaceuticals.
* The first field tests of genetically engineered plants (tobacco) are conducted.
* The Environmental Protection Agency approves the release of the first genetically engineered crop - gene-altered tobacco plants.
* First field trials of a genetically altered bacterium.
* Frostban, a genetically altered bacterium that inhibits frost formation on crop plants, is field tested on strawberry and potato plants in California, the first authorized outdoor tests of an engineered bacterium.
* A patent for a process to make bleach-resistant protease enzymes to use in detergents is awarded.
* Congress funds the Human Genome Project, a massive effort to map and sequence the human genetic code as well as the genomes of other species.
* First field trial of a recombinant viral crop protectant.
* Chy-Max(tm), an artificially produced form of chymosin, an enzyme for cheese-making is introduced. It is the first product of recombinant DNA technology in the U.S. food supply.
* Human Genome Project - an international effort to map all of the genes in the human body - is launched.
* The first federally approved gene therapy treatment is performed successfully on a 4-year-old girl suffering from an immune disorder.
* The first successful field trial of genetically engineered cotton plants is conducted. The plants had been engineered to withstand use of the herbicide Bromoxynil.
* The first transgenic dairy cow - used to produce human milk proteins for infant formula - is created.
* American and British scientists unveil a technique for testing embryos in vitro for genetic abnormalities such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia.
* The FDA declares that genetically engineered foods are "not inherently dangerous" and do not require special regulation.
* The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is created by merging two smaller trade associations.
* The FLAVRSAVR(tm) tomato - the first genetically engineered whole food approved by the FDA is on the market.
* The first breast cancer gene is discovered.
* Approval of genetically engineered version of human DNAase, which breaks down protein accumulation in the lungs of CF patients.
* The first baboon-to-human bone marrow transplant is performed on an AIDS patient.
* The first full gene sequence of a living organism other than a virus is completed for the bacterium Hemophilus influenzae.
* Gene therapy, immune system modulation and genetically engineered antibodies enter the clinics in the war against cancer.
* The discovery of a gene associated with Parkinson's disease provides an important new avenue of research into the cause and potential treatment of the debilitating neurological ailment.
* Scottish scientists report cloning a sheep, named Dolly, using DNA from adult sheep cells.
* A group of Oregon researchers claims to have cloned two Rhesus monkeys.
* A new DNA technique combines PCR, DNA chips and a computer program providing a new tool in the search for disease-causing genes.
* University of Hawaii scientists clone three generations of mice from nuclei of adult ovarian cumulus cells.
* Embryonic stem cells can be used to regenerate tissue and create disorders mimicking diseases.
* Scientists at Japan's Kinki University clone eight identical calves using cells taken from a single adult cow
* The first complete animal genome for the elegans worm is sequenced.
* A rough draft of the human genome map is produced, showing the locations of more than 30,000 genes.