Frederick Sanger: Timeline of key events

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The first to determine the DNA sequence of insulin, Sanger proved proteins have a defined chemical composition. He was also pivotal to the development of the dideoxy chain-termination method for sequencing DNA molecules, known as the Sanger method. This provided a breakthrough in the sequencing of long stretches of DNA in terms of speed and accuracy and laid the foundation for the Human Genome Project. 1918-08-13T00:00:00+00001932-01-01T00:00:00+0000Studies a combination of chemistry, physics, maths and physiology and specialises in biochemistry in his final year.1936-01-01T00:00:00+0000Initially supervised by Bill Pirie, and then by Albert Neuberger, in the Department of Biochemistry. Thesis: 'On the metabolism of the amino acid lysine in the animal body'. 1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000Sanger undertakes the research as part of team working with Albert Chibnall in Department of Biochemistry. His work is initially supported by a Beit Memorial Fellowship from 1944 and then by Medical Research Council from 1951. 1944-01-01T00:00:00+0000Sanger's insulin results establish for the first time that proteins are chemical entities with a defined sequence. The technique Sanger develops for sequencing insulin later becomes known as the degradation or DNP method. It provides the basis for his later development of sequencing tecdhniques for nucleic acids, including RNA and DNA.1955-01-01T00:00:00+0000Ingram shows that the difference between sickle-cell and normal haemoglobulin lies in just one amino acid. 1957-01-01T00:00:00+0000Prize awarded to Sanger 'for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin'.1958-01-01T00:00:00+00001960-01-01T00:00:00+0000Sanger now has close contact with protein crystallographers, molecular geneticists and protein chemists1962-01-01T00:00:00+0000The method enables 80 nucleotides to be sequenced in one go. Represents radical new approach which allows direct visual scanning of a sequence. 1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000This is found to contain 5,385 nucleotides. It is the first DNA based organism to have its complete genome sequenced. Sanger and his team use the plus and minus technique to determine the sequence. 1977-01-01T00:00:00+0000Two separate teams, one led by Fred Sanger at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, and one composed of Allan Maxam, and Walter Gilbert at Harvard University publish two different methods for sequencing DNA. The first, known as the Sanger Method, or dideoxy sequencing, involves the breaking down and then building up of DNA sequences. The second, the Maxam-Gilbert method, involves the partial chemical modification of nucleotides in DNA. 1977-02-01T00:00:00+0000Prize shared with Walter Gilbert. Awarded on the basis of their 'contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids.' 1980-01-01T00:00:00+00001983-01-01T00:00:00+00002013-11-19T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
13 Aug 1918Frederick Sanger, twice Nobel Prize winner, bornSangerRendcomb, Gloucestershire, United KingdomDNA Sequencing
1932Sanger attends Bryanston School, Dorset, as boarderSanger DNA Sequencing
1936 - 1940Sanger takes degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge UniversitySangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1940 - 1943Sanger studies for a doctorate at Cambridge UniversitySangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1944Sanger starts working on amino acid composition of insulinSangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1955Sanger completes the full sequence of amino acids in insulinSangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1957Victor Ingram breaks the genetic code behind sickle-cell anaemia using Sanger's sequencing techniqueIngram, SangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1958Sanger awarded his first Nobel Prize in ChemistrySangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1960Sanger begins to devise ways to sequence nucleic acids, starting with RNASangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1962Sanger moves to the newly created Laboratory of Molecular Biology in CambridgeSangerLaboratory of Molecular BiololgyDNA Sequencing
1975Sanger and Coulson publish their plus minus method for DNA sequencingSanger, CoulsonLaboratory of Molecular BiologyDNA Sequencing
1977Complete sequence of bacteriophage phi X174 DNA determinedSangerLaboratory of Molecular BiologyDNA Sequencing
Feb 1977Two different DNA sequencing methods published that allow for the rapid sequencing of long stretches of DNASanger, Maxam, GilbertHarvard University, Laboratory of Molecular BiologyDNA Sequencing
1980Sanger awarded his second Nobel Prize in ChemistrySanger, GilbertHarvard University, Laboratory of Molecular BiologyDNA Sequencing
1983Sanger retiresSangerLaboratory of Molecular BiologyDNA Sequencing
19 Nov 2013Sanger, the inventor of DNA sequencing, died at the age of 95SangerCambridgeDNA Sequencing

13 Aug 1918

Frederick Sanger, twice Nobel Prize winner, born

1932

Sanger attends Bryanston School, Dorset, as boarder

1936 - 1940

Sanger takes degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge University

1940 - 1943

Sanger studies for a doctorate at Cambridge University

1944

Sanger starts working on amino acid composition of insulin

1955

Sanger completes the full sequence of amino acids in insulin

1957

Victor Ingram breaks the genetic code behind sickle-cell anaemia using Sanger's sequencing technique

1958

Sanger awarded his first Nobel Prize in Chemistry

1960

Sanger begins to devise ways to sequence nucleic acids, starting with RNA

1962

Sanger moves to the newly created Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge

1975

Sanger and Coulson publish their plus minus method for DNA sequencing

1977

Complete sequence of bacteriophage phi X174 DNA determined

Feb 1977

Two different DNA sequencing methods published that allow for the rapid sequencing of long stretches of DNA

1980

Sanger awarded his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry

1983

Sanger retires

19 Nov 2013

Sanger, the inventor of DNA sequencing, died at the age of 95