161119 biotech


  • 8000 BCE

    Early Humans

    Early Humans
    Humans domesticated crops and livestock
  • Period: 4000 BCE to 2000 BCE

    Food Production

    Biotechnology is first used to leaven bread, ferment beer and wine, produce cheese, Babylonian control date palm breeding by selectively pollinating trees
  • 500 BCE

    The first antibiotic

    moldy soybean curds used to treat boils (China)
  • 100

    First Insecticide

    First Insecticide
    powdered chrysanthemums (China)
  • Period: to

    Tools and Cells

    The compound microscope is invented in the Netherlands, English physicist Robert Hooke discovers existence of the cell
  • Bacteria

    Dutch scientist Antoine van Leeuwenhoek discovers bacteria
  • Crossbreeding

    German botanist Joseph Koelreuter reports successful crossbreeding of crop plants in different species.
  • Vaccination

    English surgeon Edward Jenner pioneers vaccination by inoculating a child with a viral vaccine to protect him from smallpox
  • Period: to

    "Every cell arises from a cell"

    German scientists Mathias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann propose that all organisms are composed of cells, and German pathologist Rudolf Virchow declares, "every cell arises from a cell"
  • Fermentation

    French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur proposes microbes cause fermentation
  • The Theory of Evolution

    The Theory of Evolution
    Charles Darwin publishes the theory of evolution by natural selection
  • Science of Genetics

    Science of Genetics
    Austrian monk Gregor Mendel studies garden peas and discovers that genetic traits are passed from parents to offspring in a predictable way - the laws of heredity. Mendel's discoveries were largely ignored until the early 20th century.
  • Drosophila melangaster

    Drosophila melangaster
    Fruit flies are used in the early studies of genes. American agronomist and inventor George Washington Carver seeks new industrial uses for agricultural feed stocks.
  • Sewage

    Bacteria are used to treat sewage for the first time in Manchester, England
  • Phages

    bacterial viruses are discovered
  • Coining a Term

    the word biotechnology is first used in print
  • Penicillin Discovery

    Penicillin Discovery
    Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin, German botanist Friedrich Laibach first uses embryo rescue to obtain hybrids from wide crosses in crop plants - known today as hybridization
  • Plant Patent Act

    U.S. Congress passes the Plant Patent Act, enabling the products of plant breeding to be patented
  • Hybrid Corn

    Hybrid Corn
    developed by Henry Wallace in the 1920s, is commercialized, eliminates the option of saving seeds
  • Bacteriophage

    the electron microscope is used to identify and characterize a bacteriophage - a virus that infects bacteria, penicillin is mass-produced in microbes
  • DNA

    Canadian-born American bacteriologist Oswald Avery and colleagues discover that DNA carries genetic information
  • Nature

    the scientific journal Nature publishes James Watson and Francis Crick's manuscript describing the double helical structure of DNA, which marks the beginning of the modern era of genetics
  • Test Tube DNA

    sickle cell anemia is shown to occur due to a change of a single amino acid, DNA is made in a test tube for the first time
  • Bacillus thuringiensis

    Bacillus thuringiensis
    USDA registers the first biopesticide: Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt
  • Borlaug

    new wheat varieties developed by American agricultural scientist, Norman Borlaug, increase yields by 70%
  • Cracked the Code

    the genetic code is cracked, demonstrating that a sequence of three nucleotide bases (a codon) determines each of 20 amino acids (two more amino acids have since been discovered)
  • Gene Synthesis

    the first complete synthesis of a gene is completed
  • New DNA

    American biochemists Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer perfect techniques to cut and paste DNA and reproduce the new DNA in bactera
  • Human Genes in Bacteria

    Human Genes in Bacteria
    a human gene is expressed in bacteria for the first time, procedures are developed for rapidly sequencing long sections of DNA using electrophoresis
  • Exxon

    The U.S. Supreme Court, in the landmark case Diamond v. Chakrabarty, approves the principle of patenting organisms, which allows the Exxon oil company to patent an oil-eating microorganism
  • Golden Clone

    Golden Clone
    scientists at Ohio University produce the first transgenic animals by transferring genes from other animal into mice, a Chinese scientist becomes the first to close a fish - a golden carp
  • FDA approval

    the first biotech drug is approved by FDA: human insulin produced in genetically modified bacteria
  • PCR

    American biochemist Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, uses heat and enzymes to make unlimited copies of genes and gene fragments, later becomes a major tool in biotech research and product development worldwide
  • DNA fingerprinting

    DNA fingerprinting
    DNA fingerprinting technique (using PCR) is developed, the entire genome of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is cloned and sequenced
  • Forensics

    genetic fingerprinting is entered as evidence in a courtroom, the NIH approves guidelines performing gene-therapy experiments in humans
  • Chy-Max and The Human Genome Project

    Chy-Max and The Human Genome Project
    Chy-Max, an artificially produced form of chymosin enzyme for cheese making, is introduced; the first product of recombinant DNA technology in the U.S. food supply; The Human Genome Project - an international effort to map all the genes in the human body - is launched
  • "Not Inherently Dangerous"

    "Not Inherently Dangerous"
    American and British scientists unveil a technique for testing embryos in vitro for genetic abnormalities such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia; the FDA declares that transgenic foods are "not inherently dangerous" and do not require special regulation

    FDA approves the first whole food produced through biotechnology: FLAVRSAVR tomato, first breast-cancer gene is discovered, Pulmozyme, a recombinant version of human DNase, is approved, the drug breaks down protein accumulation in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients
  • Dolly

    Dolly the sheep is unveiled in Scotland and the first animal cloned from an adult cell, biotech crops are growing commercially on nearly 5 million acres worldwide
  • Mapping

    a rough draft of the human genome sequence is announced, the first complete map of a plant genome is developed: Arabidopsis thaliana
  • GloFish

    the first biotech pet, GloFish, hits the North American market, laboratory-rat and chimpanzee genome is sequenced
  • Cloned Cow

    researchers at the University of Georgia successfully produce a cow cloned from the cells of a carcass, scientists at Harvard University report success in converting skin cells into embryonic stem cells through fusion with existing embryonic stem cells
  • Biotech Eucalyptus

    Biotech Eucalyptus
    Taiwanese researchers develop biotech eucalyptus tree that ingests up to three times more carbon dioxide the conventional varieties, U.S. researchers announce the production of biotech cattle that cannot develop prion proteins (connected to Mad Cow Disease)
  • Draft Corn Genome

    Draft Corn Genome
    the draft corn genome sequence is completed, only the third plant genome to be completed