RECOMBINANT DNA FOUNDERS


   ECO-R1 was 1st isolated by Herb Boyer at UCSF in the fall of 1972.

   While attending a conference in Hawaii Boyer, Cohen and Falkow and having a sandwich at a Waikiki Deli scribbled out on paper napkins an experiment to use ECO-R1 to manipulate a bacterial plasmid and make a recombinant DNA plasmid.

   Many have said that this moment was the origins of a commercial biotech industrial revolution.

   Within 5 months Boyer and Cohen used ECO-R1 to put a DNA piece, that imparted bacterial antibiotic resistance, into a plasmid (pSC101) and when introduced into E.Coli enabled resistance to that antibiotic.

   In 1973 John Morrow of Paul Berg's lab at Stanford using the protocols of Cohen and Boyer put frog rDNA into a plasmid and the plasmid was able to make rRNA in bacterial cells, establishing that the techniques would work with vertebrate DNA as well.                                                                                                               
  Bpyer-Cohne-Falkow
   A global debate about the biohazards of combining DNAs and the fears of creating freakish organisms lead to the Asilonmar Conference in February 1975... a debate that still rages to this day.
   In 1976 Bob Swanson an MIT graduate meets with Herb Boyer at UCSF and they discuss the possibility of making insulin via recombinant DNA technology and about forming a company to do so. Swanson pitches the concept to capital investors and on April 7th a new company is formed - GENENTECH - based upon a patent that Stanford and UCSF had jointly applied for in November of 1974 (the Boyer-Cohen cloning methodology). On August 21, 1978 Boyer's group and Genentech succeeded in making insulin in bacteria using a synthetic DNA in a plasmid.
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