A Timeline of Biotech and Synthetic Biology

by piero scaruffi | (contact)

An appendix to the chapter on Biotech
All of these events are explained in my book "Intelligence is not Artificial".

Slide presentation "Biotech"

See also: A Timeline of Modern Science

TM, ®, Copyright © 2017 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

1944: Oswald Avery discovers that genes are made of DNA
1953: Francis Crick and James Watson discover the double helix of DNA
1961: Marshall Nirenberg and Heinrich Matthaei discover how the 4-letter genetic code gets translated into the 20-letter language of proteins
1964: Harvey Nathanson at Westinghouse makes the first MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system)
1965: Robert Holley discovers transfer RNA
1969: Jon Beckwith isolates a gene
1971: First Biotech startups (e.g. Cetus)
1973: Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer invent a practical technique to produce recombinant DNA
1974: Waclaw Szybalski coins the term "synthetic biology"
1975: Paul Berg organizes the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA
1976: Genentech is founded
1977: Genentech clone a protein using a synthetic recombinant gene
1977: Fred Sanger invents a method for "sequencing" DNA molecules
1979: Stephen Terry at Stanford builds the first “lab-on-a-chip"
1980: The Supreme Court of the USA rules that life forms can be patente
1980: Janet Rossant creates a chimera combining two mice species
1980: Genentech's IPO, first biotech IPO
1981: Martin Evans identifies embryonic stem cells (in mice)
1982: The first genetically produced medication, humulin, is approved for sale (Eli Lilly + Genentech)
1983: Kary Mullis invents the "polymerase chain reaction"
1983: Richard Feynman’s lecture "Infinitesimal Machinery“
1985: Oliver Smithies discovers how to insert DNA sequences into the human chromosome
1986: Leroy Hood invents a way to automate gene sequencing
1986: Mario Capecchi performs gene editing on a mouse
1989: Bert Vogelstein discovers that the gene p53 acts as a turmor suppressor
1990: William French Anderson's gene therapy
1990: First baby born via PGD (Alan Handyside’s lab)
1992: Calgene creates the first Genetically Manufactured Food (GMF), the "Flavr Savr" tomato
1993: Cynthia Kenyon discovers that a single-gene mutation can double the lifespan of the roundworm
1994: FlavrSavr Tomato 
1994: Maria Jasin's homing endonucleases for genome editing
1995: Robert Fleischmann sequences the genome of a free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus Influenzae
1996: Ian Wilmut clones "Dolly" the sheep
1996: Srinivasan Chandrasegaran's ZFN method for genome editing
1997: DARPA’s Microflumes program to fund research in microfluidics
1997: Dennis Lo detects fetal DNA in the plasma of a pregnant mother (prenatal genetic diagnosis)
1997: John Dick and Dominique Bonnet discover that leukemia is caused by tumor stem cells
1998: James Thomson and John Gearhart isolate human embryonic stem cells and grow them in the lab
1999: Agilent introduces the first commercial "lab-on-a-chip" product
2000: George Davey Smith introduces Mendelian randomization
2001: Dana Carroll's ZFN-based genome editing in cells
2002: Wilhelm Ansorge at EMBL develops the amicroarray with the whole human genome
2002: Eckard Wimmer creates the first synthetic virus
2003: Dario Campana's method to make CAR-T cells
2003: The Human Genome Project is completed
2003: The MIT establishes a Registry of Standard Biological Parts
2003: China approves a gene-therapy product, Gendicine
2004: The first international conference on Synthetic Biology is held at the MIT
2004: First commercial microarrays of the whole human genome (Affymetrix, Agilent, Applied Biosystems, Illumina, NimbleGen)
2005: The genomes of the chimpanzee and of rice are published
2005: Jay Keasling (UC Berkeley) artificially produces artemisinin acid
2005: Drew Endy’s “Foundations for Engineering Biology”
2005: Fyodor Urnov uses ZFN to edit human DNA
2007: Personal genomics (Knome, 23andMe)
2007: Shinya Yamanaka converts adult human cells into pluripotent stem cells.
2008: The TALEN technique for genome editing (Dan Voytas and Feng Zhang)
2009: Jean Bennett's gene therapy restores vision in Corey Haas
2010: Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith (Maryland) reprogram a bacterium's DNA
2010: Geron carries out the first stem-cell therapy on a human
2010: Cheap printers for living beings (OpenPCR, Cambrian Genomics)
2010: Carl June's CAR-T therapy
2011: The Voytas/Bogdanove TALEN kit
2012: Cloud-based biotech (Transcriptic)
2012: Markus Covert (Stanford) simulates an entire living organism in software
2012: Jennifer Doudna (UC Berkeley), Emmanuelle Charpentier (Sweden) and Feng Zhang (Broad Inst) develop the CRISPR-cas9 technique for genome editing
2013: Shoukhrat Mitalipov creates human embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos
2014: the first gene-therapy treatment approved in the West, Glybera by UniQure
2014: Jef Boeke synthesizes a chromosome (in yeast)
2014: Floyd Romesberg expands life's genetic alphabet with two new bases in a living bacterium
2014: Scientists at Kunming University in China use CRISPR to edit the germ-line of monkeys
2015: The cost of a personal genetic test-kit is $100, down from $3 billion in 2003
2015: First Summit on Human Gene Editing
2015: Cellectis cures leukaemia in Layla Richards using TALENS editing
2015: Katsuhiko Hayashi's in vitro gametogenesis (IVG)
2016: David Liu’s base editing
2017: First gene therapy for cancer treatment approved in the USA, Kymriah
2017: Michele DeLuca combines stem-cell techniques with gene therapy to create artificial skin to cure a skin disease
2017: Shoukhrat Mitalipov repairs a genetic mutation in human embryos that causes a heart disease
  • 2018: Jiankui He uses CRISPR to modify human embryos before they are transferred into women’s uteruses, and claims the first gene-edited babies
  • 2019: David Liu's & Andrew Anzalone's prime editing
  • 2019: CRISPR Therapeutics' gene-editing cure for sickle-cell disease CTX001
    A Timeline of CRISPR's discovery
    • 1993: Francisco Mojica (Spain) describes CRISPR
    • 2005: Alexander Bolotin (France) discovers Cas9
    • 2006: Eugene Koonin (NIH) shows the DNA-repair value of Cas proteins
    • 2007: Philippe Horvath at Danisco (France) prove that CRISPR is an adaptive immune system
    • 2008: Paper by John van der Oost (Netherlands)
    • Dec 2008: Luciano Marraffini and Erik Sontheimer (Chicago) show that CRISPR can serve as a general-purpose genome-editing
    • 2010: Paper by Sylvain Moineau (Canada): Cas9 cleaves target DNA
    • 2011: Paper by Virginijus Siksnys (Lithuania)
    • 2012: Jennifer Doudna (UC Berkeley) and Emmanuelle Charpentier (Sweden) describe a CRISPR-Cas9 system to cut DNA in test tube
    • 2012: Feng Zhang and Luciano Marraffini (Broad Inst) invent the first CRISPR system to edit human cells
    • Apr 2013: Chad Cowan and Kiran Musunuru (Harvard) prove that CRISPR is superior to existing genome-editing tools

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    TM, ®, Copyright © 2017 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.