Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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W 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. Their technique opened the possibility of producing stem cells from almost any other human cell. They published their method in K Takahashi, K Tanabe, M Onnuki, et al 'Induction of pluripotent stem cells from adult human fibroblasts by defined factors', Cell, 131/5 (2007), 861-72.2007-11-30T00:00:00+0000The son of Jewish Polish immigrants, Benzer was an American molecular biologist who proved that genetic mutations were caused by changes in the DNA sequence. This was based on some experiments he pursued with mutant T4 bacteriophages, known as r mutants. In 1952 he spotted abnormal behaviour in one mutant strain and a year later devised a technique to measure the recombination frequency between different r mutant strains to map the substructure of a single gene. His work laid the path to determining the detailed structure of viral genes. Benzer also coined the term cistron to denote functional subunits of genes. Together with Ronald Konopka, his student, Benzer also discovered the first gene to control an organism's sense of time, in 1971. In later he worked on genes and the process of ageing in fruit flies.2007-11-30T00:00:00+00002007-12-01T00:00:00+00002008-01-01T00:00:00+00002008-01-01T00:00:00+0000Achieved by Emmanuel Skordalakes2008-01-01T00:00:00+0000The National Institutes of Health dedicated US$170 million to the project. 2008-01-01T00:00:00+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+0000Weller was an American physician and virologist whose development of tissue-culture methods, with John P. Enders and Frederick C. Robbins, in October 1949 opened up the means to study viral diseases. Their work paved the way to the development of the polio vaccine. The virus was grown in cultures of human foreskin and embryonic tissues. Weller shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1954 for the 'discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue.'2008-08-23T00:00:00+0000A team of scientists led by George Q Daley at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute reported the creation of stem cells for 10 genetic disorders that will enable researchers to watch diseases develop in a lab dish. The researchers used ordinary skin cells and bone marrow from people with a variety of diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's and Down syndrome to produce the stem cells. They published their results in I H Park, et al, 'Disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells', Cell, 134/5 (2008), 877-86.2008-09-05T00:00:00+0000Palade was a Romanian-American cell biologist who helped determine cell function and organisation. He and colleagues demonstrated that all plant cells and some animal and bacteria cells have a vacuole, an enclosed compartment in the cell membrane, which contains enzymes essential to maintaining the cell's health. In 1974 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his innovations in electron microscopy and cell fractionation, which laid the foundation for molecular cell biology, and his discovery of the ribosomes of endoplastic reticulum in 1955. 2008-10-07T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
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
30 Nov 2007Human cells reprogrammed to make pluripotent stem cellsYamanaka, TakahashiKyoto UniversityStem cells
30 Nov 2007Seymour Benzer diedBenzerPurdue University, California Institute of TechnologyDNA, genetics
Dec 2007Campath-1H granted European regulatory approval as first-line treatment for B-CLL.  Campath
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
2008Human Microbiome Project launched National Institutes of HealthMicrobiome
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 diedJoshua LederbergUniversity 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
23 Aug 2008Thomas H Weller diedWellerChildren's Medical Center BostonVirology
5 Sep 2008Scientists created stem cells for 10 disordersDaley, Park, Arora, Huo, Maherall, Ahfedt, Shimamura, Lensch, Cowan, HochedlingerHarvard Stem Cell InstituteStem cells
7 Oct 2008George E Palade diedPaladeRockefeller UniversityCell

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

30 Nov 2007

Human cells reprogrammed to make pluripotent stem cells

30 Nov 2007

Seymour Benzer died

Dec 2007

Campath-1H granted European regulatory approval as first-line treatment for B-CLL.

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

2008

Human Microbiome Project launched

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

23 Aug 2008

Thomas H Weller died

5 Sep 2008

Scientists created stem cells for 10 disorders

7 Oct 2008

George E Palade died