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  • The first bacterial genome sequence was published 20 years ago. In this Timeline, Loman and Pallen review the first two decades of bacterial genome sequencing, discussing how advances in sequencing technologies and bioinformatics have furthered our understanding of the biology, diversity and evolution of bacteria.

    • Nicholas J. Loman
    • Mark J. Pallen
  • Phages were discovered 100 years ago, and since then phage research has transformed fundamental and translational biosciences. In this Timeline, Salmond and Fineran discuss a century of phage research, describing the roles of phages in ecosystems and in driving bacterial evolution and virulence, and highlight their impact as a source of novel reagents that revolutionized molecular biology and biotechnology.

    • George P. C. Salmond
    • Peter C. Fineran
  • In this Timeline article, Collins and colleagues chart the history of synthetic biology since its inception just over a decade ago, with a focus on both the cultural and scientific progress that has been made as well as on key breakthroughs and areas for future development.

    • D. Ewen Cameron
    • Caleb J. Bashor
    • James J. Collins
  • The isolation of HIV-1 was a fundamental step for understanding HIV and the disease it causes. Here, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Anna Laura Ross and Jean-François Delfraissy look back on three decades of research that have changed the lives of people infected with HIV and have inspired hope for a cure.

    • Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
    • Anna Laura Ross
    • Jean-François Delfraissy
  • Vaccines have saved hundreds of millions of lives and helped to eradicate several diseases. Plotkin and Plotkin describe how the design of vaccines has developed from the observation that milkmaids seemed to be protected from smallpox, to a science that incorporates microbiology, systems biology and immunology.

    • Stanley A. Plotkin
    • Susan L. Plotkin
  • Robert Ridley and Elaine Fletcher review the past 30 years of activity by TDR and the key achievements of the programme in tropical-disease research.

    • Robert G. Ridley
    • Elaine R. Fletcher
  • Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) bacteria, which combine ammonium and nitrite or nitrate to form nitrogen gas, were discovered in the early 1990s. Here, Gijs Kuenen recalls the discovery of these bacteria and the subsequent elucidation of their roles in environmental and industrial microbiology.

    • J. Gijs Kuenen
  • This Timeline examines the legacy of nineteenth-century microbiology in relation to plant and animal biogeography of the time. The particular focus is Beijerinck's experimental and theoretical work, and what it implies for twentieth century studies of microbial biodiversity and biogeography.

    • Maureen A. O'Malley
  • TheTombusvirus-encoded p19protein (P19) was once thought irrelevant, but is now recognized as a potent suppressor of RNA interference. In this Timeline article, Herman Scholthof takes us through the experimental and cognitive 'twists and turns' that transformed our perceptions of P19.

    • Herman B. Scholthof