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Businessweek Archives

Table: The Long March To Unravel The Mystery Of Genes

Cover Story

TABLE: The Long March to Unravel the Mystery of Genes

1953 James Watson and Francis Crick discover DNA's structure.

1966 Scientists finish cracking the genetic code, showing that groups of three

molecules in the strand of DNA provide the code for particular amino acids, the

building block of proteins.

1973 Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen of Stanford University make the first

clones of genes.

1975 Harvard University researchers isolate and clone the first mammalian gene,

a component of hemoglobin in rabbits.

1977 First human gene cloned.

1989 Scientists find the cystic fibrosis gene, and go on to nab genes for

scores of diseases.

1990 The Human Genome Project, a 15-year, $3 billion effort to map and sequence

all human genes, officially kicks off.

1990 Craig Venter scales up sequencing of genes, as opposed to "junk" DNA,

which makes up 97% of genetic material.

1992 By early 1992, Venter has sequenced parts of several thousand genes. He

leaves the National Institutes of Health to set up The Institute for Genomic

Research (TIGR).

1994 Merck announces support of a massive sequencing effort at Washington


1995 TIGR and its partners have sequenced 85% to 90% of all human genes. Other

databases also contain sequences for thousands of genes from bacteria to mice.

2002 Scientists expect all human DNA to be sequenced along with the genomes of

a number of plants and animals.


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