Plasmid: Timeline of Key Events

  • 1903: The chromosome theory of inheritance was developed independently by two researchers: Walter S. Sutton and Theodor Boveri
  • 1910: The direct proof of chromosome theory was provided by Thomas Hunt Morgan using Drosophila as a model organism.
  • 1920-1940: Embryologists recognized the presence of hereditary determinants in the cytoplasm too. They were often termed “plasmagenes”.
  • 1940s: While studying resistance to antibiotics, researchers identified DNA strands apart from chromosomal DNA in bacteria. This extrachromosomal DNA was called by various names such as bioblasts, cytogenes, choncriogenes, pangenes, plasmagenes, etc.
  • 1946: Sexual phase in E. coli K-12 was reported by Joshua Lederberg and Edward Tatum.
  • 1951: Lyosgenic bacteriophage lambda in E. coli K-12 was discovered by Esther Lederberg.
  • 1952: The term plasmid was coined by Joshua Lederberg to describe any extrachromosomal DNA in bacteria.

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