DNA and Genomics


Laws on Inheritance formulated

1856 - 1863

Gregor Mendel formulates his Laws on Inheritance detailing the behavior of dominant and recessive alleles

Nucleic Acid first isolated


Friedrich Miescher isolates nucleic acid for the first time form nuclei of white blood cells

Defintion of "Gene"


Hugo de Vries defines the term “gene” in this book “Intracellular Pangenesis” and postulates that inheritance of specific traits in organisms comes in particles

Non-mendelian inheritance discovered


Carl Correns discovers pattern of non-mendelian inheritance

Chromosomal theory of inheritance published


Thomas Hunt Morgan publishes the chromosomal theory of inheritance in his book “The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity”. He is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 for his work

Base-sugar-phosphate nucleotide unit discovered


Phoebus Leven identifies the base-sugar-phosphate nucleotide unit and suggests that DNA consists of a string of nucleotides linked together through the phosphate groups

Proposal of a double stranded hereditary molecule


Nikolai Koltsov proposes that a “"giant hereditary molecule" made up of "two mirror strands that would replicate in a semi-conservative fashion using each strand as a template" is responsible for inherited traits.

One gene-one enzyme hypothesis


George Beadle and Edward Tatum publish the “one gene-one enzyme” hypothesis. Beadle and Tatum share the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work

First evidence of DNA as a hereditary molecule


Oswald Avery, Clint MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty identify DNA as transforming principle in bacteria

Confirmation of DNA as the hereditary molecule


Experiments by Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase confirm that DNA is the hereditary genetic material. Hersey shares the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery

Central dogma of molecular biology proposed


Francis Crick postulates the “central dogma of molecular biology” explaining the relationship of DNA, RNA and proteins

Double helix model of DNA structure proposed


James Watson and Francis Crick suggest the double helix model of DNA structure in the journal Nature. Watson and crick share the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery. Watson and crick’s model is based on X-ray diffraction images of DNA taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in 1952

Semi-conservative hypothesis of DNA replication validated


Experiments by Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl support the semi-conservative hypothesis of DNA replication

Codons of 3 DNA bases discovered


Experiments by Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner and Leslie Barnett demonstrate that three DNA bases code for each amino acid

Genetic Code established

1964 - 1966

Har Gobind Khorana, Marshall Nirenberg and Robert Holley decode the genetic code. They will be awarded Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968 for their work

Chemical modification method of DNA sequencing developed


Allan Maxam and Walter Gilbert develop chemical modification method of DNA sequencing

Dideoxy chain termination method for DNA sequencing introduced


Frederick Sanger introduces dideoxy chain termination method for DNA sequencing earning a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980. This form of DNA sequencing becomes the predominant method of DNA sequencing of the 20th century

States department of Energy Report on the Human Genome Initiative


United States department of Energy Report on the Human Genome Initiative from the Office of Health and Environmental Research recommends that the department of Energy fund a major new initiative with “The major long-term goal is to obtain a base sequence for each of 24 reference human chromosomes, and to make DNA sequencing technology readily available to search for disease-related variations and to make biological comparisons.”

Human Genome Project formally begins


Human Genome Project formally begins, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health with the stated project goals:
• identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,
• determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA,
• store this information in databases,
• improve tools for data analysis,
• transfer related technologies to the private sector, and
• address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project

Celera Corporation launches parallel human genome project


Celera Corporation launches parallel project with intent to seek patents on a number of whole and partial genes

First rough draft assembly of the genome announced


President of the United States Bill Cinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announce first rough draft assembly of the genome by the Genome Bioinformatics Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz. President Clinton announces that the genome sequence cannot be patented ensuring it’s free availability

First next generation sequencing technology launched


Lynx Therapeutics publishes and markets Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing marking the beginning of next generation sequencing technologies

First publication of human genome drafts


Human Genome Project and Celera publish the details of their drafts in Nature (Human Genome Project) and Science (Celera)

International HapMap project launches


International HapMap project launches with intention of using single nucleotide polymorphisms to develop a haplotype map of gene alleles as a cost effective alternative to full genome sequencing for all participants

Complete Human Genome announced


National Human Genome Research Institute launches the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) research consortium with the goal of identification of all functional elements in the human genome

Revision of number of estimate of human genes


International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium announces new estimate of 20,000 – 25,000 genes in the human genome compared to earlier estimates of 30,000 – 40,000 and up to 2,000,000 at the start of the Human Genome Project

454 Sequencing launched


454 Life Sciences markets the second next generation sequencing platform based on a parallelized pyrosequencing technology

Phase I data of HapMap project published


Phase I data of HapMap project published, consists of 269 individuals genotyped for 1 million SNPs from the following populations:
• 30 trios (trio= adult and both parents) from Idaban Nigeria
• 45 unrelated Japanese individuals from Tokyo
• 45 unrelated Han Chinese individuals from Bejing
• 30 trios of individuals of Northern and Western European ancestry from Utah, United States of America

Personal Genome Project announced


Harvard University’s George Church announces the Personal Genome Project with the goal of publishing the complete genomes and medical records of 100,000 volunteers. Sequence of the last chromosome is published in the journal Nature. Solexa introduces the Genome Analyzer featuring sequencing by synthesis using reversible terminators

First full genome of a single individual published


Celera Genomics lead Scientist Craig Venter publishes his complete DNA sequence. This is the first time the full genome of a single individual is published.

Analysis of HapMap Phase II dataset is published


Analysis of HapMap Phase II dataset is published adding an additional 2.1 million SNPs

SOLiD high throughput sequencing introduced


Life Technologies markets SOLiD high throughput sequencing platform featuring sequencing by ligation

1000 Genomes Project launched


The 1000 Genomes Project launches with the goal of sequencing at least 1000 anonymous participants from a variety of ethnic groups

Pilot Phase of 1000 Genones Project published


Publication of pilot phase results of the 1000 Genomes project. Overall 1092 genomes from the following populations are published:
• Yoruba in Idadan, Nigeria
• Japanese in Tokyo
• Chinese in Beijing
• Utah, United States (Northern and Western European ancestry)
• Luhya in Webuy, Kenya
• Maasai in Kinyawa, Kenya
• Toscani in Italy
• Peruvians in Lima, Peru
• Houston, United States (Gujarati Indian ancestry)
• Chinese in Denver, United States
• Los Angeles, United States (Mexican ancestry)
• Southwestern United States (Africa ancestry)

Ion semiconductor sequencing introduced


– Introduction of Ion semiconductor sequencing featuring no modified nucleotides or optics and enables more cost effective use in personalized medicine.

Initial ENCODE Project results published


Initial results of the ENCODE project publications released. Results indicate that gene regulation is far more complex than initially believed and highlights the importance of noncoding DNA