A History of Genomics

As we enter into an era of personalized medicine and technology, San Diego’s companies, research institutes and universities will continue to pioneer discoveries across the interdisciplinary field of genomics.  Recognizing San Diego's role in the history of genomics is important in understanding the role it will play in the future.  

Scroll through the timeline below to learn more about San Diego's role in advancing genomics.  The timeline was created as part of a study on the economic impact of San Diego's genomics industry.

Orange indicates a San Diego milestone.  


Gregor Mendel - father of genomics

Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics, presents his research on experiments in plant hybridization


Double helix discovered

James Watson and Francis Crick discover the double helix structure of DNA


Nirenberg cracks the code

Marshall Nirenberg cracks the genetic code for protein synthesis


DNA sequencing gets faster

Frederick Sanger develops rapid DNA sequencing technique


Genetic Disease mapped for the first time

Huntington's disease becomes the first genetic disease mapped using DNA polymorphisms


pcr makes DNA more accessible

Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for amplifying DNA


pathogen detection improves diagnosis

FDA clears first nucleic acid test, which detects pathogens and allows for more timely and accurate diagnoses 


invitrogen founded in cardiff

San Diego researchers and life science companies found Invitrogen in Cardiff, CA to manufacture thousands of scientific research products


human genome project launches

The Human Genome Project launches as an international effort to sequence the human genome


Sequenom improves prenatal care

Sequenom is founded in San Diego, pioneering DNA-based prenatal testing


genome is sequenced for the first time

Haemophilus influenzae becomes first genome sequenced


genomics data becomes free to public

Leaders of the Human Genome Project draft the “Bermuda Principles," allowing free data access to the public


Illumina changes the game

Researchers from Tufts University found Illumina and locate its headquarters in San Diego, launching a new era of gene sequencing technologies


first human chromosome is decoded

 Chromosome 22 becomes the first human chromosome to be decoded


GNF combines basic science with drug discovery

Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) launches in San Diego, developing new technology for biomedical discovery


shotgun method sequences human genome

J. Craig Venter sequences genome using shotgun method


Human Genome project sequences the genome

The Human Genome Project is completed


Synthetic Genomics is founded

J. Craig Venter co-founds Synthetic Genomics to develop and commercialize synthetic biology for biofuels and medicine


Illumina becomes largest DNA sequencing company

Illumina acquires Solexa, cementing its position as the largest DNA sequencing company


NGS increases sequencing output

Introduction of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) increases output 70x


biotech giants merge to form life technologies

Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems combine to form Life Technologies, a family of biotechnology products and services


venter becomes first to synthesize minimal cell

J. Craig Venter Institute creates first minimal synthetic cell, enabling major advances in DNA technology


100,000 genomes project launches

Genomics England set up to deliver the 100,000 genomes project aimed to create a new genomic medicine service and research


Life technologies gets acquired

Life Technologies is acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific 


Genome sequencing gets cheaper

Cost to sequence a genome falls below $1,000


Scripps receives grant for large-scale study

The Scripps Research Institute is awarded $120 million grant for large-scale genomics study with 1+ million participants


genome technology moves to the cloud

Edico Genome takes rapid genome analysis technology into the cloud