Although much has been discovered in recent decades to improve genetic testing, the history of genetics is really a rather old science and has been studied for many years. In this article we are going to give a brief history of genetics and genetic testing but if you are interested in a more comprehensive history of genetic testing and genetics please see our recommended reading list below.
Cells were first discovered in plant and animal tissue in 1665 and in 1839 cells containing nuclei were recognized as the building blocks of life. It was also recognized that cells could only be formed through the dividing of other cells and so a basic foundation was laid for the future study of genetics.
Between 1879 and 1882 Walther Flemming discovered chromosomes or DNA which is the subject of study in genetics and so began the history of real genetic testing.
In 1902 inherited diseases were first linked to chromosomes and following this a number of other genetic disorders were found and described by various geneticists.
Around 1950 a number of discoveries were made regarding the nature of DNA including the ratio of the DNA bases and the fact that they worked in complimentary pairs as well as the structure of the DNA molecule.
A number of other discoveries were made in genetic testing history during the 1960’s and 1970’s and in 1975 a method to isolate and analyze DNA fragments was discovered which is now known as the “Southern blot analysis” and is used in genetic testing.
In 1983 the PCR method of DNA analysis was discovered by the Cetus Corporation and is now a popular method of DNA analysis in genetic testing. These techniques led to more disorders being linked to genetics including cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington Chorea.
Today genetic testing is becoming more and more popular and the history of genetic testing has laid the foundation for modern analysis into diseases as well as paternity and ancestry DNA testing.
Although the last few decades have seen the rapid advancement of the history of genetic testing, the study of genetics began many years previously and what was learned in the early years of this science have helped to make genetic testing as we know it today possible. The history of genetic testing has meant that today many disorders can be diagnosed or predicted through the use of DNA testing and has been a benefit to many.