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Major Innovations in the History of Biotechnology

  • Biotechnology in the 1600s

    Biotechnology in the 1600s
    Robert Hooke coined the term "cells". Anton Van Leeuwenhoek also observed the first microorganisms (by human eyes). Both of these discoveries were made through the benefit of magnification through the microscope.
  • Period: to

    Before DNA

    Few events happened during this era, yet the ones that did were of utmost importance. They set up the foundation of Science and Biotechnology as we know it.
  • Mendel's Laws of Inheritance

    Mendel's Laws of Inheritance
    Gregory Mendel, an Austrian monk working with pea plants, discovered the simple laws of inheritance of traits that allowed one to predict the outcome of crosses with certain traits. This is known as hybridization.
  • Microbiology and the Germ Theory

    Microbiology and the Germ Theory
    Louis Pasteur describes the scientific basis for fermentation, wine making, and the brewing of beer, establishing the science of micrrobiology. He also proposed the Germ Theory, claiming that microorganisms were respondsible for infectious diseases, a radical proposal at that time.
  • Beginnings of DNA

    Beginnings of DNA
    Johann Miescher found nucleic acid in white blood cells from pus in bandages. This later led scientists to believe that DNA might be the inheritable material of an organism.
  • Period: to

    DNA Science

    This era of Biotechnology, relating to the inventions and discoveries, mainly relate to DNA. This would help humans extraordinarily, benefiting them in medicine, genetics, agriculture, and other areas.
  • Genes and Chromosone Relations

    Genes and Chromosone Relations
    Studying fruit flies, Thomas Hunt Morgan discovered that genes wer on chromosones.
  • Transferrable Genetic Material

    Transferrable Genetic Material
    Fred Griffin, using mice, probed that genetic material could be moved from one strain of bacteria to another.
  • Penicilin Discovery

    Penicilin Discovery
    Sir Alexander Fleming isolated penicilin from fungus. Many of his ideas are used to develop biotechnology drugs today.
  • DNA Proportions and Relations

    DNA Proportions and Relations
    Chargaff showed that in DNA the number of units of adenine equaled those of thumine and the number of units of cytosine equaled those of guanine.
  • Gene and Enzyme Hypothesis

    Gene and Enzyme Hypothesis
    Beadle and Tatum propose the "One gene produces one enzyme" hypothesis, using genetic analysis to analyze the results after mutating various (living) objects.
  • DNA: The Hereditary Material

    DNA: The Hereditary Material
    Avery, McCarty, and McLeod established that indeed DNA was the hereditary material that was transferred (relating to previous experiments and discoveries).
  • DNA: The Hereditary Material Confirmation

    DNA: The Hereditary Material Confirmation
    Using their famous "blender experiment," Hershey and Chase proved viruses replicated using DNA and confirmed the role of DNA as the hereditary material.
  • The Double Helix

    The Double Helix
    Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins established through X-ray crystallography that DNA was indeed a double helix.
  • DNA Structure

    DNA Structure
    Watson and Crick discover the structure of DNA, basing it on a spiral staircase structure and relating it to nucleotides.
  • Plasmid DNA

    Plasmid DNA
    Hayes discovered plasmid DNA, circular pieces of DNA found in bacteria.
  • Gene Expression

    Gene Expression
    SWalter Gilbert discovered the mechanism of gene expression through his study of messenger RNA.
  • More Bacterial Enzymes

    More Bacterial Enzymes
    Arber, Nathans, and Smith discovered bacterial restriction enzymes that cut DNA.
  • Codons

    Khorana and NIrenberg discovered the 64 codons (the triplet code of 3 bases in DNA) that code for the 20 amino acids maknig up proteins.
  • Purification and Isolation

    Purification and Isolation
    DNA plasmids were isolated and purified by Vinograd.
  • Bacteria Transformation

    Bacteria Transformation
    Madel and Higa were respondsible for the first transformation of the bacterium Escherichia coli.
  • Period: to

    Recombinant DNA Technology and Beyond

    This era stretches from the 1970s to the present. New technologies are being found to combat what are world is currently going through.
  • The Beginnings of Cloning

    The Beginnings of Cloning
    Cloning experiments were conducted by Boyer and Cohen.
  • Genentech

    Genentech, the world's first genetic engineering company, was founded.
  • rDNA Guidelines

    rDNA Guidelines
    140 scientists met to draw up guidelines for work with recombinant DNA in microorganisms. Paul Berg was a key organizer.
  • Technology: Sequencing DNA

    Technology: Sequencing DNA
    Sanger and GIlbert found a way to sequence DNA. Given an unknown piece of DNA, they were able to read the correct order of bases of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.
  • Synthetic Insulin

    Synthetic Insulin
    Boyer inserted a synthetic insulin gene into E. coli
  • DNA Fingerprints - Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism

    DNA Fingerprints - Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism
    Botstein found that one cold be identified by the pattern made of one's DNA through a digest by different enzymes. This DNA fingerprint was called a Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP).
  • Vitro Fertilization

    Vitro Fertilization
    Louise Joy Brown was born, the first human baby resulting from in vitro fertilization, in which sperm and egg are joined in a petri dish. The fertilized egg is later implanted in a womb.
  • Biotechnology Patents

    Biotechnology Patents
    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that genetically altered life forms can be patented. This resulted in a huge startup of biotech companies.
  • Transgenic Animals

    Transgenic Animals
    Ohio University students made the first transgenic animals.
  • Advancements of Insulin Genes

    Advancements of Insulin Genes
    Eli Lilly Company placed a human insulin gene inside bacteria.
  • Technology: Polymerase Chain Reaction

    Technology: Polymerase Chain Reaction
    Kary Mullis invents polymerase chain reactions (PCR) to amplify DNA in the labratory.
  • Plant Transformations

    Plant Transformations
    Schell, Chilton, Van Montagu, Fraley, and Horsch transformed plants with Agrovacterium-meditated gene transfer.
  • Technology: Automated Fluorescence Sequencer

    Technology: Automated Fluorescence Sequencer
    An automated fluorescence sequencer was invented, speeding up the labor-intense process.
  • DNA Fingerprinting Applied to Criminal Cases

    DNA Fingerprinting Applied to Criminal Cases
    Jeffries applied RFLP (DNA fingerprinting) in DNA profiling to the study of criminal cases.
  • Technology: Gene Gun

    Technology: Gene Gun
    Genes were moved into an organism through the use of a gene gun.
  • rDNA Safety Guidelines

    rDNA Safety Guidelines
    NIH revised safety guidelines for recombinant DNA to include plants grown in greenhouses and animals raised in barns.
  • C. Elegans

    C. Elegans
    Andrew Fire and Craig Mello discovered RNA interference, silencing of genes, in the worm C. elegans.
  • Technology: DNA Microarray Technology

    Technology: DNA Microarray Technology
    DNA microarray (DNA chip) technology, looking at the expression of all the genes of an organism at one time on a microscope slide or silicon chip, was developed.
  • Monoclonal Antibody Technology

    Monoclonal Antibody Technology
    Kohler, Milstein, and Jerne used monoclonal antibody (MAb) technology.
  • Yeast Artifical Chromosomes

    Yeast Artifical Chromosomes
    Maynard Olson and colleagues at Washington University invented "yeast artifical chromosones," or YACs, which ae expression vectors for large proteins.
  • Dolly the Sheep

    Dolly the Sheep
    Ian Wilmut cloned Dolly the Sheep from an adult cell of a ewe at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.
  • Technology: Advanced DNA Sequencer

    Technology: Advanced DNA Sequencer
    Daviri and Garner invented an automated DNA sequencer that had a capability of sequencing 76,800 vase pairs per hous, 5 to 30 times faster than existing sequencers. Technoloy like this greatly sped up the Human Genone Project.
  • Riboswitch

    Ron Breaker coined the term riboswitch for part of an mRNA molecule that can regulate its own activity and therefore gene expression.
  • Human Genome Project

    Human Genome Project
    Announcement was made of the completion of the HUman Genome Project (initiated in 1990) by Francis Collins and Craig Venter. the project provided the ability to find genes and gave rise to the sequencing of other genomes.