Landmarks in the history of gene technology

1868 F. Miescher, Switzerland, first isolates nucleic acid from biological material.
1940 G. Beadle* and E. Tatum, USA, put forward the "one gene – one enzyme" hypothesis. (*1958)
1944 O. Avery, USA, shows that genetic material does not consist of proteins but of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
1953 J. Watson*, USA, and F. Crick*, UK, show that the DNA molecule consists of a double helix, thus making one of the most important discoveries of this century. (*1962)
1956 A. Kornberg*, USA, discovers the enzyme DNA polymerase, which is needed for copying DNA. (*1959)
1957 A. Todd*, UK, receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for synthesis DNA's building blocks. Later G. Khorana and his coworkers in the USA develop these chemical methods further and, for the first time (1970), synthesise a biologically active gene.
1961-65 Work by M. Nirenberg*, J. Matthei, G. Khorana*, S. Ochoa and their co-workers in the USA leads to an understanding of the genetic code. (*1969)
1961-69 W. Arber*, Switzerland, D. Nathans* and H. Smith*, USA, discover restriction enzymes, which can cleave DNA molecules in a predetermined way and can hence function as important tools in gene technology. (*1978)
1972 P. Berg*, USA, lays the foundation of recombinant-DNA technology. (*1980)
1975-77 W. Gilbert*, USA, and F. Sanger*, UK, develop methods for determining the sequence of DNA. (*1980)
1978 Michael Smith*, Canada, and his co-workers manage to induce a site-directed mutation in a bacteriophage DNA molecule.
1982 Michael Smith* together with A. Fehrst and G. Winter, UK, manages to produce large quantities of an enzyme in which, using site-directed mutagenesis, one pre-determined amino acid is exchanged for another. (*1993)
1985 The PCR method developed by Kary B. Mullis*, USA, for mass-copying of DNA is presented for the first time. (*1993)
  *Nobel Prize



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