Genetics: Timeline of key events

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Research carried out by Ramin Shiekhattar published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2002-08-20T00:00:00+00002004-01-01T00:00:00+0000Lewis was an American developmental geneticist who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development. He made these discoveries based on the fruit fly. By crossbreeding thousands of flies he demonstrated that genes were arranged on the chromosome in the same order as their body segments, whereby the first set of genes controls the development of the head and thorax, the middle set the abdomen, and the final set the hind parts. He also discovered that the genetic regulatory functions could overlap. A fly with a defective gene in the thoracic region could develop an extra set of wings. His work helped explain the causes of congenital deformities. 2004-07-21T00:00:00+0000Crick 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+0000Wilkins was a New Zealand biophysicist whose development of x-ray diffraction techniques helped determine the structure of DNA. He obtained the first x-ray patterns on DNA in 1950. This work led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1962. Following his work on DNA, Wilkins directed his attention to studying the structure of various forms of RNA and a wide group of genetic problems, like ageing. In his younger years, Wilkins was recruited to work on the Manhattan atomic bomb project during the war. Wilkins became profoundly disillusioned with nuclear weapons after the bombing of Japan and was the president of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science from 1969 to 1991. 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+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+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 was an Indian chemist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the elucidation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. He helped demonstrate that the chemical composition and function of a new cell is determined by four nucleotides in DNA and that the nucleotide code is transmitted in groups of three, called codons, and these codons instruct the cell to start and stop the production of proteins. His work also laid the foundation for the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that makes it possible to make billions of copies of small fragments of DNA. 2011-11-09T00:00:00+0000Zinder was an American biologist who discovered how hereditary information is transferred from one organism to another. The process is known as genetic transduction. Carrying out experiments with the bacteria species Salmonella, Zinder discovered that bacteriophages, a type of virus, carry genes from one bacterium to another. He did the work with Joshua Lederberg, his doctoral supervisor. 2012-02-03T00:00:00+0000Dulbecco was an Italian-American virologist who in the 1950s helped to pioneer the growth of animal viruses in culture and work out how certain viruses cause tumours in the cells they infect. He and his colleagues demonstrated that the virus inserted DNA into the DNA of the host cell and this cell transformed into a cancer cell which reproduced the viral DNA along with its own thereby producing more cancer cell. This work not only aided better understanding of how viruses cause cancer, but also HIV. Dulbecco shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his 'discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.' 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 also generated, with Jon W. Gordon and George Scango the first successful transgenic mouse. This heralded the development of genetically modified animals as research models to investigate the function of genes and genetic cause of disease. Ruddle also discovered, with William McGinnis, the first human homeobox genes, important regulators of gene development. 2013-03-10T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
20 Aug 2002Link identified between genes responsible for neurofibromatosis, a common neurological disorder, and a protein thought to play role in Alzheimer's diseaseShiekhattarWistar InstituteNeuroscience, Genetics
2004FDA approved first DNA methylation inhibitor drug, azacitidine (Vidaza®), for treatment of rare bone marrow disorder  DNA methylation, Epigenetics
21 Jul 2004Edward B Lewis diedLewisCalifornia Institute of TechnologyGenetics, Embryology
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
30 Nov 2007Seymour Benzer diedBenzerPurdue University, California Institute of TechnologyDNA, genetics
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 diedKhoranaUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyDNA, Genetics, PCR
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

20 Aug 2002

Link identified between genes responsible for neurofibromatosis, a common neurological disorder, and a protein thought to play role in Alzheimer's disease

2004

FDA approved first DNA methylation inhibitor drug, azacitidine (Vidaza®), for treatment of rare bone marrow disorder

21 Jul 2004

Edward B Lewis died

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

30 Nov 2007

Seymour Benzer 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