Genetics: Timeline of key events

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The was determined by a team led by Marie-Claire King who conducted a genetic analysis of 23 extended families, a total of 329 relatives. J Hall, M Lee, B Newman, J Morrow, L Anderson, B Huey, M King, 'Linkage of early-onset familial breast cancer to chromosome 17q21', Science, 250/4988 (1990): 1684–89. 1990-12-01T00:00:00+0000Luria was an IItalian microbiologist who made his name in 1943 when he demonstrated, with Max Delbruck, that viruses undergo permanent changes in their hereditary material. The same year he and Delbruck showed phage-resistant bacteria resulted from spontaneous mutations rather than as a direct response to environmental changes. Their work helped explain how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance. Luria had landed up working with Delbruck in the US because he was banned from academic research fellowships in Italy under Mussolini's Italian fascist regime because of his Jewish background. In 1969 Luria was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to discover the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.1991-02-06T00:00:00+0000M. Frommer, L.E. McDonald, D.S. Millar, C.M. Collis, F. Watt, G.W. Grigg, P.L. Molloy, C.L. Paul, 'A genomic sequencing protocol that yields a positive display of 5-methylcytosine residues in individual DNA strands', PNAS, 89/5 (1992), 1827-31.1992-03-01T00:00:00+0000Mouse genetated with genes knocked out that produce the enzyme DNA methyltransfgerase involved in DNA methylation. E. Li, T.H. Bestor, R. Jaenisch, 'Targeted mutation of the DNA methyltransferase gene results in embryonic lethality', Cell, 69/6 (1992), 915-26.1992-06-12T00:00:00+0000McClintock was a pioneer in the field of cytogenetics, a branch of genetics concerned with how chromosomes affect cell behaviour. Based on her investigation of how chromosomes change in reproductiuon in maize she demonstrated in the late 1920s that genes can shift to different locations by themselves. In the 1940s and 1950s she showed that genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on and off, a process called transposition. Initially scientists were sceptical of her findings so she stopped publishing her date in 1953. By the 1960s and 1970s attitudes towards her work changed as more scientists made similar findings. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her work.1992-09-02T00:00:00+0000W.F. Zapisek, G.M. Cronin, B.D. Lyn-Cook, L.A. Poirier, 'The onset of oncogene hypomethylation in the livers of rats fed methyl-deficient, amino acid-defined diets', Carcinogenesis, 13/10 (1992), 1869-72.1992-10-01T00:00:00+0000Holley shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.'1993-02-11T00:00:00+0000Ochoa was a Spanish biochemist and molecular biologist whose research was devoted to understanding enzymes and their role in intermediary metabolism. He was one of the first scientists to show the pivotal role of high energy phosphates, like adenosine triphosphate, in the storage and release of energy. During this work he discovered the enzyme polynucleotide phosphorylase, which plays an important role in the synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA). This enzyme provided the foundation for the subsequent synthesis of artificial RNA and the breaking of the human genetic code. Ochoa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1959 for his work on the biological synthesis of RNA. 1993-11-01T00:00:00+0000Temin was an American geneticist and virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on the interactions between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell. In 1969 he demonstrated that certain tumour viruses carry the ability to reverse the flow of information from RNA back to DNA using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The same enzyme is now is known to be linked to the widespread spread of viral diseases like AIDs and Hepatitis B.1994-02-09T00:00:00+0000Pauling was an American chemist and biochemist who helped pioneer quantum chemistry and mechanics. He combined methods from x-ray crystallography, molecular model building and quantum chemistry. Pauling was the first to find the alpha helix structure of proteins. In 1954 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 'research on the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex structures.' He also co-authored the first paper to suggest sickle-cell anaemia was a genetic disease, which introduced the concept of 'molecular disease'. Pauling was the only person to have received two Nobel Prizes. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, which was given for opposition to nuclear weapons. 1994-08-19T00:00:00+00001995-01-01T00:00:00+0000P.W. Laird, L. Jackson-Grusby, A. Fazeli, S. L. Dickinson, W. E. Jung, E. Li, R.A. Weinberg, R. Jaenisch, 'Suppression of intestinal neoplasia by DNA hypomethylation', Cell, 81 (1995),197-205, April 21, 1995,1995-04-21T00:00:00+0000Snell was a major founder of immunogenetics as a discipline. He is best known for helping to identify the major histocompatibility complex, a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surface of cells that help the immune system differentiate between self and nonself cells, and demonstrating its role in tissue graft rejection. This work laid the foundation for carrying out successful transplants in both animals and humans. Snell shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions'.1996-06-06T00:00:00+0000Mazia was an American cell biologist whose passion was to understand how cells reproduce. As a doctoral researcher he was one of the first to establish the role of calcium in the egg activation in the process of fertilisation. Following this worked on the process of cell division, structure and division. He is best known for the work he did in 1931 which helped identify the cell structure responsible for mitosis, the process when a eukaryotic cell divides chromosomes into two identical daughter cells. Mazia also determined how the nucleus and chromosomes change during the cell cycle. 1996-06-09T00:00:00+0000A geneticist by training, Sager enjoyed two careers. She first made her mark in the 1950s and 1950s when she discovered the transmission of genetic traits through chloroplast DNA. This was the first example of genetics not involving the cell nucleus. Later on she became a major pioneer in cancer genetics in the early 1970s and was one of the first to propose and investigate the function of tumour suppressor genes. 1997-03-29T00:00:00+0000Hershey was an American bacteriologist and geneticist. He is best known for a series of experiments with bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, that helped confirm that DNA rather than proteins carried genetic material. These he performed with Martha Chase in 1952. Hershey shared the 1969 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.' 1997-05-22T00:00:00+0000Introduction of RNA into cells is shown to silence genes in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Term 'RNA interference' coined. A Fire, S Xu, M K Montgomery, S A Kostas, S E Driver, C C Mello, 'Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans', Nature 391 (1998), 806–11.1998-02-01T00:00:00+0000Fraenkel-Conrat was a German biochemist who discovered that RNA is pivotal to the genetic control of viral reproduction and that it is carried in the nucelic core of each virus. He made this finding in 1955 during experiments with the tobacco mosaic virus. By 1960 he had determined the complete sequence of the 159 amino acids in the virus. 1999-04-10T00:00:00+0000M. Toyota, N. Ahuja, M. Ohe-Toyota, J.G. Herman, S.B. Baylin, J-P.J. Issa, 'CpG island methylator phenotype in colorectal cancer', PNAS, 96/15 (1999), 8681–86.1999-07-20T00:00:00+0000H.D. Morgan, H.G. Sutherland, D.I. Martin, E. Whitelaw, 'Epigenetic inheritance at the agouti locus in the mouse', Nature Genetics, 23 (1991), 314–18.1999-11-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Dec 1990BRCA1, a single gene on chromosome 17, shown to be responsible for many breast and ovarian cancersKing, Lee, Newman, Morrow, Anderson, HueyUniversity of California BerkeleyGenetics, DNA sequencing
6 Feb 1991Salvador E Luria diedLuriaMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyGenetics, Virology
1 Mar 1992Method devised to isolate methylated cytosine residues in individual DNA strands providing avenue to undertake DNA methylation genomic sequencing  DNA methylation, Epigenetics,DNA sequencing
12 Jun 1992First transgenic mouse model created for studying link between DNA methylation and diseaseLi, Bestor, JaenischWhitehead Institute for Biomedical ResearchEpigenetics, Transgenic animals
2 Sep 1992Barbara McClintock diedMcClintockUniversity of MissouriGenetics
1 Oct 1992First experimental evidence showing links between diet and DNA methylation and its relationship with cancerZapisek, Cronin, Lyn-Cook, PoirierFDA, National Center for Toxicological ResearchDNA methylation, Epigenetics, Oncology
11 Feb 1993Robert W Holley diedHolleyCornell UniversityGenetics
1 Nov 1993Severo Ochoa diedOchoaNew York UniversityGenetics, DNA
9 Feb 1994Howard M Temin diedTeminUniversity of WisconsinGenetics, Virology, Oncology
19 Aug 1994Linus C Pauling diedPaulingCalifornia Institute of TechnologyGenetics, DNA
1995Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric Wieschaus and Edward B Lewis jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for illuminating the genetic control of embryonic developmentNusslein-Volhard, Wieschaus, Lewis Genetics, Embryology
21 Apr 1995First evidence published to demonstrate reduced DNA methylation contributes to formation of tumoursLaird, Jackson-Grusby, Fazeli, Dickinson, Jung, Li, Weinberg, JaenischMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General HospitalDNA methylation, Epigenetics, Oncology
6 Jun 1996George D Snell diedSnellJackson LaboratoryGenetics, Immunology, Transplantation
9 Jun 1996Daniel Mazia diedMaziaUniversity of California BerkeleyCell, Genetics, Reproduction
29 Mar 1997Ruth Sager diedSagerRockefeller UniversityGenetics, Oncology
22 May 1997Alfred D Hershey diedHersheyCarnegie Institution of WashingtonGenetics, Virology
Feb 1998Double stranded RNA demonstrated to be potent mechanism for silencing genesFire, Mello, Xu, Montgomery, Kostas, Driver, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, University of Massachusetts Cancer CenterRNA interference, Genetics
10 Apr 1999Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat diedFraenkel-Conrat University of California BerkeleyGenetics, Virology
20 Jul 1999DNA methylation of CpG islands shown to be linked to colorectal cancerToyota, Ahuja, Ohe-Toyota, Herman, Baylin, IssaJohns Hopkins UniversityDNA methylation, Epigenetics, Oncology
Nov 1999First evidence from mammals that epigenetic changes can be passed down generations Morgan, Sutherland, Martin, WhitelawUniversity of SydneyEpigenetics

Dec 1990

BRCA1, a single gene on chromosome 17, shown to be responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers

6 Feb 1991

Salvador E Luria died

1 Mar 1992

Method devised to isolate methylated cytosine residues in individual DNA strands providing avenue to undertake DNA methylation genomic sequencing

12 Jun 1992

First transgenic mouse model created for studying link between DNA methylation and disease

2 Sep 1992

Barbara McClintock died

1 Oct 1992

First experimental evidence showing links between diet and DNA methylation and its relationship with cancer

11 Feb 1993

Robert W Holley died

1 Nov 1993

Severo Ochoa died

9 Feb 1994

Howard M Temin died

19 Aug 1994

Linus C Pauling died

1995

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric Wieschaus and Edward B Lewis jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for illuminating the genetic control of embryonic development

21 Apr 1995

First evidence published to demonstrate reduced DNA methylation contributes to formation of tumours

6 Jun 1996

George D Snell died

9 Jun 1996

Daniel Mazia died

29 Mar 1997

Ruth Sager died

22 May 1997

Alfred D Hershey died

Feb 1998

Double stranded RNA demonstrated to be potent mechanism for silencing genes

10 Apr 1999

Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat died

20 Jul 1999

DNA methylation of CpG islands shown to be linked to colorectal cancer

Nov 1999

First evidence from mammals that epigenetic changes can be passed down generations