Genetics: Timeline of key events

Mouseover the event title for a more detailed description of the event (if available). To search for particular terms in the description of the event enter the term in the box below 'Event' on the table and press 'enter'. Alternatively use the dropdown lists to filter by Person, Place or Science. Click here to clear the filter.

Crick is best known for the work he did with James Watson that identified the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962. He also developed the central dogma of molecular biology which explained how genetic information flowed within a biological system, moving from DNA to RNA and then protein. His subsequent work looked at the way in which the brain works and the nature of consciousness.2004-07-28T00:00:00+0000A New Zealand biophysicist, Wikins helped develop x-ray diffraction techniques to determine the structure of DNA. 2004-10-05T00:00:00+0000Study conducted by team led by Shelley Berger published in Molecular Cell.2005-02-17T00:00:00+0000Drug made by MGI Pharma. approved for treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes, bone marrow disorders2006-01-01T00:00:00+0000Drug made by Merck & Co2006-10-06T00:00:00+0000Lederberg is best known for having discovered the lambda phage, an indispensable tool for studying gene regulation and genetic recombination. She also invented the replica plating technique which is pivotal to tracking antibiotic resistance. 2006-11-11T00:00:00+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+0000Achieved by Emmanuel Skordalakes2008-01-01T00:00:00+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+00002009-11-01T00:00:00+0000Nirenberg was a biochemist and geneticist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for interpreting the genetic code and its function of protein synthesis. The Prize was given on the back of some experiments Nirenberg conducted in 1960 and 1961 which identified particular codons (3 chemical units of DNA) that specified each of the 20 amino acids that make up protein molecules.2010-01-15T00:00:00+0000Khorana shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.'2011-11-09T00:00:00+0000Zinder discovered how hereditary information is transferred from one organism to another. The process is known as genetic transduction.2012-02-03T00:00:00+0000Dulbecco was an Italian American who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.' His work not only aided better understanding of how viruses cause cancer but also HIV. 2012-02-19T00:00:00+00002012-09-28T00:00:00+0000Ruddle helped pioneer human gene mapping and established many of the techniques and a framework for setting up the Human Genome Project. He is also known for having generated, with Jon W. Gordon and George Scango the first successful transgenic mouse. His work heralded the development of genetically modified animals as research models to investigate the function of genes and genetic cause of disease. He also co-discovered, with William McGinnis, the first human homeobox genes, important regulators of gene development. 2013-03-10T00:00:00+00002015-04-01T00:00:00+0000K.B. Chiappinelli, P.L. Strissel, A. Desrichard, et al, 'Inhibiting DNA methylation causes an interferon response in cancer via dsRNA including endogenous retroviruses', Cell, 162 (2015), 974-86.2015-08-27T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a leading expert on viruses that cause cancer. She was the first woman appointed to Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital. In 1980 she completed the sequence of the poliovirus, the longest piece of eukaryotic DNA to be sequenced at that time. She devoted her life to understanding the Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of Burkitt's Lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer. 2016-06-13T00:00:00+0000Smithies was a British-born American geneticist and physical biochemist. He first made his mark in 1955 through his invention of starch gel electrophoresis, a technique used to study human protein variation. Later on, in the 1980s he developed a method for targeted gene replacement in mice, now known as gene targeting, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007. His method has paved the way to the creation of thousands of lines of mice carrying desired genetic mutations. Such mice are now widely used to investigate the role of many different genes in human health and disease. 2017-01-10T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
28 Jul 2004Francis H C Crick diedCrickLaboratory of Molecular BiologyDNA, Genetics
5 Oct 2004Maurice H F Wilkins diedWilkinsKing's College LondonDNA, Genetics
Feb 2005Enzyme Ubp10 demonstrated to protect the genome from potential destabilising molecular eventsBerger, EmreWistar InstituteDNA, Genetics
2006FDA approved second DNA methylation inhibitior, decatabine (Dacogen)  DNA methylation, Epigenetics
6 Oct 2006FDA approved first histone deacetylase inhibitor, Vorinostat (Zolinza), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma  Epigenetics, Oncology
11 Nov 2006Esther Lederberg diedEsther LederbergWisconsin UniversityGenetics, Antimicrobial resistance, Bacteriophages, Lambda phage
26 Oct 2007Arthur Kornberg diedKornbergStanford UniversityGenetics, DNA, RNA
2008Structure of telomerase, an enzyme that conserves the ends of chomosomes, was decoded Wistar InstituteDNA, genetics
2 Feb 2008Joshua Lederberg diedJoshua LederbergUniversity of WisconsinGenetics, Plasmids, Recombinant DNA
Nov 2009FDA approved second histone deactylase inhibitor, Romidepsin (Istodax), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma   Epigenetics, Oncology
15 Jan 2010Marshall W Nirenberg diedNirenbergNational Institutes of HealthGenetics
9 Nov 2011Har Gobind Khorana diedKhoranaConcord, Massachusetts, USAGenetics
3 Feb 2012Norton David Zinder diedZinderRockefeller UniversityGenetics
19 Feb 2012Renato Dulbecco diedDulbeccoImperial Cancer Research Fund LaboratoryGenetics, Virology, Oncology
2012European approval of decatabine (Dacogen) for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia  Epigenetics, Oncology
10 Mar 2013Frank Ruddle died in New Haven, ConnecticutRuddleYale UniversityGenetics, Transgenic animals, Cloning
Apr 2015Chinese regulatory authorities approved Chidamide, a histone deactylase inhibitor, for peripheral T cell lymphoma  Epigenetics, Oncology
27 Aug 2015Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy  Cancer immunotherapy, Epigenetics, Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Oncology
13 Jun 2016Beverly Griffin diedGriffinImperial CollegeDNA sequencing, genetics
10 Jan 2017Oliver Smithies diedSmithiesUniversity of Washington, University of North CarolinaGenetics, Transgenic animals

28 Jul 2004

Francis H C Crick died

5 Oct 2004

Maurice H F Wilkins died

Feb 2005

Enzyme Ubp10 demonstrated to protect the genome from potential destabilising molecular events

2006

FDA approved second DNA methylation inhibitior, decatabine (Dacogen)

6 Oct 2006

FDA approved first histone deacetylase inhibitor, Vorinostat (Zolinza), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

11 Nov 2006

Esther Lederberg died

26 Oct 2007

Arthur Kornberg died

2008

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

2 Feb 2008

Joshua Lederberg died

Nov 2009

FDA approved second histone deactylase inhibitor, Romidepsin (Istodax), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

15 Jan 2010

Marshall W Nirenberg died

9 Nov 2011

Har Gobind Khorana died

3 Feb 2012

Norton David Zinder died

19 Feb 2012

Renato Dulbecco died

2012

European approval of decatabine (Dacogen) for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia

10 Mar 2013

Frank Ruddle died in New Haven, Connecticut

Apr 2015

Chinese regulatory authorities approved Chidamide, a histone deactylase inhibitor, for peripheral T cell lymphoma

27 Aug 2015

Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy

13 Jun 2016

Beverly Griffin died

10 Jan 2017

Oliver Smithies died