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.  


1865

Gregor Mendel - father of genomics

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

1953

Double helix discovered

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

1966

Nirenberg cracks the code

Marshall Nirenberg cracks the genetic code for protein synthesis

1977

DNA sequencing gets faster

Frederick Sanger develops rapid DNA sequencing technique

1983

Genetic Disease mapped for the first time

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

1983

pcr makes DNA more accessible

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

1985

pathogen detection improves diagnosis

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

1987

invitrogen founded in cardiff

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

1990

human genome project launches

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

1994

Sequenom improves prenatal care

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

1995

genome is sequenced for the first time

Haemophilus influenzae becomes first genome sequenced

1996

genomics data becomes free to public

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

1998

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

1999

first human chromosome is decoded

 Chromosome 22 becomes the first human chromosome to be decoded

1999

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

2003

shotgun method sequences human genome

J. Craig Venter sequences genome using shotgun method

2003

Human Genome project sequences the genome

The Human Genome Project is completed

2005

Synthetic Genomics is founded

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

2006

Illumina becomes largest DNA sequencing company

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

2007

NGS increases sequencing output

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

2008

biotech giants merge to form life technologies

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

2010

venter becomes first to synthesize minimal cell

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

2013

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

2013

Life technologies gets acquired

Life Technologies is acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific 

2014

Genome sequencing gets cheaper

Cost to sequence a genome falls below $1,000

2016

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

2017

genome technology moves to the cloud

Edico Genome takes rapid genome analysis technology into the cloud