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Biotechnology Timeline

  • 500

    The First Boils Treatment

    The First Boils Treatment
    In China in 500 BCE, moldy soybean curd was used to treat boils, and moldy cheese was used by both Chinese and Ukrainian peasants to treat infected wounds. The most likely explanation is that Pennicillin was probably present in the mold and actually helped.
  • Agriculture Begins

    Agriculture Begins
    Before the 1800s, humans domesticated wild animals to raise them for food. They also learned to grow plants and use those for food or to feed the animals. They often used cold caves to preserve food.
  • Mendel researches plant genes

    Mendel researches plant genes
    In the mid-1800s Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) researched plants and bred them. He studied how plants passed down traits to their offspring, and didn't recieve recognition for his work until after his death.
  • First Corn Hybrid

    The first experimental corn hybrid was produced in a laboratory by William James Beal, an American botanist. This was a stepping sone to selective breeding and genetic engineering.
  • "Chromosome" is Coined

    Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried Von Waldeyer-Hartz was a German scientist. In 1888 he coined the term "chromosome" as "an organized structure of DNA and protein present in cells", or alternatively "a single piece of coiled DNA containing many genes".
  • The First Smallpox Vaccine

    Link #1 on the link
  • Mendel's work is validated

    Mendel's work is validated
    Hugo de Vries, Erich von Tsheschermak, and Carl Correns validated Gregor Mendel's work nearly 34 years after his death. This work was the first recorded science of genetics, and concluded that genes are indeed passed down from parents to offspring.
  • Nucleus is Discovered

    Nucleus is Discovered
  • "Gene" is Coined

    In 1909, Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word "gene" as a "carrier of heredity". He also proposed a distinction between genotype and phenotype. A genotype is the genetic makeup of an organism, and the phenotype is a description of an organism.
  • "The Theory of the Gene" Published

    T.H. Morgan published "the Theory of the Gene", detailing inheritance and the role of chromosomes in it by using fruit flies. This redefined the principle of genetics.
  • Penicillin is Discovered

    Penicillin is Discovered
    Alexander Fleming discovered the antibacterial toxin Penicillin in the form of a mold that grew in a petri dish he had killing all the bacteria he had growing in there.
  • DNA Structure is Discovered

    J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick discovered the structure of DNA (double-helix model). Rosalind Franklin had been studying the structure and had a picture of it, and Watson took it from her desk and returned to Crick. She recieved no credit until after her death, and they got a nobel prize.
  • DNA Made in a Test Tube

    DNA Made in a Test Tube
    Dr. Arthur Kornberg of Washington University in St. Louis makes DNA in a test tube for the first time. The DNA he made was DNA for a virus.
  • First Rubella Vaccine

    The first vaccine for rubella wa developed. It was later combined with the measles and mumps vaccines to form the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine.
  • Ligase Used for the First Time

    DNA ligase was used for the first time. It linked together fragments of DNA, opening doors for genetic modification in the future. Soon after this, the first genetic modification happened.
  • Chicken Pox Vaccine

    The first chicken pox vaccine is produced in Japan
  • First Monoclonal Antibodies Made

    Kohler and Milestein coined the concept of cytoplasmic hybridization and created the first monoclonal antibodies, which has helped shape modern diagnostics
  • Insulin is first produced in Lab

    Dr. Herbert Boyer puts the human insulin producing gene in E. Coli bacteria and readily produces human insulin used for diabetes treatment
  • First Transgenic Animals

    Scientists created the first transgenic animals by transferring genes from other animals into mice. This paved the way for genetic modification in other kinds of animals as well as plants and perhaps in the future humans.
  • First Biotech Drug is Produced

    The first biotechnologically created drug, human insulin, was produced in bacteria and approved by the FDA. This was developed by Genentech and Eli Lilly, and hit the market soon after.
  • First Anti-Cancer Drug

    Interferon was produced as the first anticancer drug. It was also used to treat hepatitis c and a few other medical conditions.
  • First Gene-Therapy Treatment is Approved

    The FDA approved the first gene therapy treatment and was performed successfully on a 4-year-old girl. The gene therapy treatment was shocking at the time, but was successful and saved the girl's life.
  • First Breast Cancer Gene Discovered

    First Breast Cancer Gene Discovered
    A new breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA2), was identified on a chromosome. This was important because now scientists could tell if someone had the gene for it, so they could catch it before the cancer even started.
  • Baboon to Human Marrow Transplant

    Baboon to Human Marrow Transplant
  • Successful Clone

    Successful Clone
    Ian Wilmut, an Irish scientist, successfully cloned a sheep, which he named "Dolly". This was the first successfully cloned animal ever. It took 277 unsuccessful attempts by the Roslin Institute in Scotland to create Dolly, who then went on to live a very happy life at the institute. She eventually mated and produced offspring, which proved that clones can do that, and was six and a half years old when she was euthanized.
  • Human Skin is Produced

    Human Skin is Produced
    Human skin was produced in a lab for the first time in 1998. This could replace animals in cosmetic testing and possibly be used for medical purposes.
  • First Human Genome Sequence

    Craig Venter and J.D. Watson made the first human genome sequence based off the model by Watson and Crick. This concept opened up new applications in biotechnology.
  • First H5N1 Vaccine Approved

    The FDA approved the H5N1 vaccine, the first vaccine approved for avian flu. It would be used in the event of the rapid spread of the disease. The vaccine would provide early limited protection if an outbreak should occur.
  • Synthetic Genome Development

    Craig Venter successfully showed that a synthetic genome can replicate by itself. This took 15 years and was the largest chemically defined structure ever synthesized in a laboratory.
  • Colony Hybridization and Southern Blotting

    Colony hybridization and Southern blotting are developed for detecting specific DNA sequences.