Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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2007-04-27T00:00:00+0000Two different groups demonstrated through experiments in mice that normal skin cells could be reprogrammed to an embryonic state. Prior to this embryonic stem cells were created by implanting DNA into an egg, which would then grow to provide a supply of stem cells. This earlier technique involved the destruction of a viable embryo. The scientists found the trick was to add four genes to a somatic cell's existing complement of DNA. These genes code for a set of proteins that prompt the cell to exhibit embryonic properties. The research was carried out by Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University and James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2007-06-06T00:00:00+0000The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority allows for the fusion of human-animal embryos, also known as chimeras, to create stem cells. 2007-09-05T00:00:00+0000Results presented by Zheng Cui to third conference on 'Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence' held at Queen’s College Cambridge, UK.2007-09-20T00:00:00+0000Saruhashi is renowned for being the first scientist to demonstrate the dangers of radioactive fallout in seawater that resulted from nuclear bomb testing in 1954. Her evidence was later used to prevent further nuclear testing by governments. Despite her achievement, she suffered discrimination as a woman scientist. She was the first woman to earn a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Tokyo in 1957. Convinced that technical expertise was the key to women's independence she established the Society of Japanese Scientists in 1958 to promote women in science.2007-09-29T00:00:00+0000Kornberg was an American biochemist renowned for his research on enzymes which create DNA. In 1956 he and his team isolated the first enzyme known to be involved in the replication of DNA. It would be called DNA polymerase I. For this work Kornberg shared the 1959 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The Prize was given for the discovery of the 'mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid.'2007-10-26T00:00:00+0000W Hu et al, 'p53 regulates maternal reproduction through LIF', Nature, 450 (2007), 721–4.2007-11-01T00:00:00+0000Research led by Emmanuel Skordalakes published in the journal 'Structure'. 2007-11-13T00:00:00+0000Japanese researchers Shinya Yamanaka and Kazutoshi Takahashi reported the generation of pluripotent stem cells from mature human fibroblasts. It opened the possibility of producing stem cells from almost any other human cell.2007-11-30T00:00:00+00002008-01-01T00:00:00+00002008-01-01T00:00:00+0000Achieved by Emmanuel Skordalakes2008-01-01T00:00:00+0000Published in 'Nature Medicine', the system deloys glycoprotein D fused with genes from target antigens to increase the immune response. The work was led by Hildegund C.J. Ertl.2008-01-31T00:00:00+0000H Deveau, R Barrangou, J E Garneau, J Labonte et al, 'Phage Response to CRISPR-Encoded Resistance in Streptococcus thermophilus', Journal of Bacteriology, 190/4 (2008): 1390-1400.2008-02-01T00:00:00+0000Lederberg was an American geneticist who helped discover the mechanism of genetic recombination in bacteria. This was based on some experiments he performed with Edward Tatum in 1946 which involved mixing two different strains of bacteria. Their experiments also demonstrated for the first time that bacteria reproduced sexually, rather than by cells splitting in two, thereby proving that bacterial genetic systems were similar to those of multicelluar organisms. Later on, in 1952, working with Norton Zinder, Lederberg found that certain bacteriophages (viruses that affect bacteria) could carry a bacterial gene from one bacterium to another. In 1958 Lederberg shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organisation of the genetic material of bacteria.' 2008-02-02T00:00:00+0000Ray Wu pioneered the first primer-extension method for DNA sequencing which laid the foundation for the Human Genome Project. He was also instrumental in the application of genetic engineering to agricultural plants to improve their output and resistance to pests, salt and drought. 2008-02-10T00:00:00+0000Reik, A, Zhou, Y, Wagner, J, Hamlett, A, et al, 'Zinc finger nucleases targeting the glucocorticoid receptor allow IL-13 zetakine transgenic CTLs to kill glioblastoma cells in vivo in the presence of immunosuppressing glucocorticoids', Cancer Research, 68 (2008), 25572008-05-01T00:00:00+0000Perez, E E, Wang, J, Miller, J C , Jouvenot, Y, et al, 'Establishment of HIV-1 resistance in CD4+ T cells by genome editing using zinc-finger nucleases', Nature Biotechnology, 26 (2008): 808-16.2008-06-29T00:00:00+0000The drug is also used to treat HIV.2008-08-11T00:00:00+0000S J J Brouns, M J Matthijs, M Lundgren, E R Westra et al, 'Small CRISPR RNAs guide antiviral defense in Prokaryotes', Science, 321/5891 (2008): 960-64.2008-08-15T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Apr 2007Canadian researchers converted normal human blood cells into leukaemia stem cells to investigate leukaemiaDick Stem cells
Jun 2007Skin cells reprogrammed to become like embryonic stem cellsYamanakaKyoto University, University of Wisconsin-MadisonStem cells
Sep 2007British regulators approve human-animal embryo research  Stem cells
20 Sep 2007Experiments in mice indicate cancer-killing capacity of granulocytes, white blood cells taken from humansCuiWake Forest UniversityCancer Immunotherapy, Oncology
29 Sep 2007Katsuko Saruhashi diedSaruhashi  
26 Oct 2007Arthur Kornberg diedKornbergStanford UniversityGenetics, DNA, RNA
Nov 2007p53 shown to be required for embryo implantationHu, Feng, Teresky, LevineCancer Institute of New Jerseyp53, Reproduction
13 Nov 2007Inappropriate activation of telomerase, an enzyme, shown to be associated with uncontrollable proliferation of cells seen in human cancersSkordalakesWistar InstituteOncology
Nov 2007Human cells reprogrammed to make pluripotent stem cellsYamanaka, Takahashi Stem cells
2008Gairdner Prize is awarded to Sam Weiss for the discovery of neural stem cellsWeiss Stem cells
2008DNA, not RNA, demonstrated to be the molecular target of most CRISPR-Cas systems  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
2008Structure of telomerase, an enzyme that conserves the ends of chomosomes, was decoded Wistar InstituteDNA, genetics
31 Jan 2008New vaccine delivery system unveiled for preventing viral diseasesErtlWistar InstituteVaccines, Virology
Feb 2008Scientists coin the term 'protospacer' to denote viral sequence that corresponds to a 'spacer' in the CRISPR-Cas9 system  CRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing
2 Feb 2008Joshua Lederberg diedLederbergUniversity of WisconsinGenetics, Plasmids, Recombinant DNA
10 Feb 2008Ray Wu died in Ithaca, USAWuCornell UniversityDNA Sequencing, Recombinant DNA
1 May 2008Zinc finger method explored as means to develop treatment for glioblastoma (brain tumour)Reik, Zhou, Wagner, HamlettSangamo BioSciencesGene therapy, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
29 Jun 2008Zinc finger method used to make HIV-resistant CD4 cells to develop immunotherapy for HIV Perez, Wang, Miller, JouvenotAbramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Sangamo BioSciences, BayerGene therapy, Gene editing, Zinc fingers
11 Aug 2008FDA approved tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, an antiviral drug, to treat chronic hepatitis B Gilead Sciences 
Aug 2008Scientists characterised the RNA processing pathway in CRISPR systemWageningen University, University of Sheffield, National Institutes of HealthCRISPR-Cas9, Gene editing

Apr 2007

Canadian researchers converted normal human blood cells into leukaemia stem cells to investigate leukaemia

Jun 2007

Skin cells reprogrammed to become like embryonic stem cells

Sep 2007

British regulators approve human-animal embryo research

20 Sep 2007

Experiments in mice indicate cancer-killing capacity of granulocytes, white blood cells taken from humans

29 Sep 2007

Katsuko Saruhashi died

26 Oct 2007

Arthur Kornberg died

Nov 2007

p53 shown to be required for embryo implantation

13 Nov 2007

Inappropriate activation of telomerase, an enzyme, shown to be associated with uncontrollable proliferation of cells seen in human cancers

Nov 2007

Human cells reprogrammed to make pluripotent stem cells

2008

Gairdner Prize is awarded to Sam Weiss for the discovery of neural stem cells

2008

DNA, not RNA, demonstrated to be the molecular target of most CRISPR-Cas systems

2008

Structure of telomerase, an enzyme that conserves the ends of chomosomes, was decoded

31 Jan 2008

New vaccine delivery system unveiled for preventing viral diseases

Feb 2008

Scientists coin the term 'protospacer' to denote viral sequence that corresponds to a 'spacer' in the CRISPR-Cas9 system

2 Feb 2008

Joshua Lederberg died

10 Feb 2008

Ray Wu died in Ithaca, USA

1 May 2008

Zinc finger method explored as means to develop treatment for glioblastoma (brain tumour)

29 Jun 2008

Zinc finger method used to make HIV-resistant CD4 cells to develop immunotherapy for HIV

11 Aug 2008

FDA approved tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, an antiviral drug, to treat chronic hepatitis B

Aug 2008

Scientists characterised the RNA processing pathway in CRISPR system