Australia in the 1970s

John Shine

Originally from Brisbane, John Shine completed his graduate and postgraduate degrees in biological science at the Australian National University (ANU) in the 1970s. While completing his postgraduate degree, Shine discovered the ribosomal RNA sequence, a molecule similar in many ways to DNA. Shine's discovery led to the development of what became known as the Shine-Dalgarno sequence. This sequence led to important consequences for molecular biology and genetic engineering.

In 1978, after spending some time at the University of California in San Francisco, Shine returned to the ANU. It was during this period at the ANU that he cloned the human rennin gene, and also the human endorphin gene. This has led to him being considered the father of cloning.

A snapshot of 1978

  • January
    • The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Act 1978 (Cth) was proclaimed in federal parliament.
    • The Special Broadcasting Service, also known as SBS, was established.

  • April
    • The Migrant Services and Programs Report, also known as 'The Galbally Report', was presented to the prime minister.

  • August
    • The Malcolm Fraser conservative government announced the end of maternity allowances.

  • November
    • The West Gate Bridge over the Yarra River and Port Melbourne was opened. It is the second-largest single span bridge in Australia.
    • The Ranger Uranium Agreement was signed by the Northern Land Council and ratified by the traditional owners, allowing uranium mining in Arnhem Land.


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