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History of Biotech

  • 100

    Domestication of plants/animals (10,000 years ago)

    Domestication began over 10,000 years ago. We started keeping plants as a reliable source of food. Rice, barley and wheat were among the first domesticated plants. Wild animals were tamed to provide milk or meat or help with ploughing or guarding the farm.
  • Sep 10, 600

    Traditional medicines (Chinese and Ukranian)

    By about 600BC, the Chinese were using mouldy soybean curds to treat boils. Ukrainian peasants were using mouldy cheese to treat infected wounds.
  • Period: to

    Classical Biotech

  • Genetic info

    The basics for the transfer of genetic information deciphered in plants, i.e., Pisum sativum, known as the Pea plant. These observations were decoded by Gregor John Mendel .
  • Discovery of nucleus (Expansive)

    Robert Brown had discovered nucleus in cells;
    Robert brown had first used the term in the early 1930's. However, Brown wasn't completely sure whether or not its presence was in a plant.
    After puting an orchid under a microscope, he notes an opagqe spot within the plant. He noted this spot as a significant part of the plant, calling it the nucleus. I found this important because the nucleas is a key factor in finding genetic info within a plant.
  • Nuclein

    Fredrich Miescher, a Swiss biologist reported nuclein, a compound that consisted of nucleic acid that he extracted from pus cells (white blood cells).
  • Bacterial colonies

    Robert Koch, a German physician described the bacterial colonies growing on potato slices (First ever solid medium).
  • Chromosome

    Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried Von Waldeyer-Hartz coined the term ‘Chromosome’, which is considered as an organized structure of DNA and protein present in cells or a single piece of coiled DNA containing genes, and egulatory elements.
  • Gene

    The term ‘Gene’ had already been coined by Wilhelm Johannsen who described ‘gene’ as carrier of heredity. Johannsen coined the terms ‘genotype’ and ‘phenotype’.
  • First use of term Biotechnelogy (Expansive)

    The term biotechnology was used for the first time by Karl Erkey, a Hungarian Engineer, in 1919. He used the term to describe how he can use raw materials to tranform them into more useful products.
    He used this concept as a way to provide solutions to social crises, such as a situation where there is a devastating impact on society that causes a shortage of goods.
    I found this interesting because it develops the main idea of modern biotech.
  • Eugenic Movement

    By this time genetics started gaining its importance, which led to the start of Eugenic Movement in USA.
  • US Immigration Act

    US Immigration Act was used to restrict the influx of poorly educated immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, on the grounds of their suspected genetic inferiority.
  • The theory of the gene

    The principle of genetics in inheritance was redefined by T H Morgan, who has shown inheritance and the role of chromosomes in inheritance by using fruit flies. This work of T H Morgan was named, ‘The theory of the Gene’ in 1926.
  • Antibiotics (Expansive)

    Alexander Fleming a physician discovered antibiotics, when he observed that one microorganism can be used to kill another microorganism, a true representation of the ‘divide and rule’ policy of humans. After discovering lysozome and penicillin, he can conjoin these enzymes with antibiotics.
    Alexander found out that these enzymes would stop bacteria from spreading, thus creating an "anti bacteria" zone within the structures. I found this important because antibiotics help diseased people.
  • DNA Helix (Expansive)

    JD Watson and FHC Crick for the first time cleared the mysteries around the DNA as a genetic material, by giving a structural model of DNA, popularly known as, ‘Double Helix Model of DNA’.
    It was modeled by the x-ray perception of the DNA structure itself,which is why Watson had a base idea/structure for it. Base pairing was key for the Helix, as for it helped reveal all the structures that needed to be connected. I found this important because we use the helix to describe genetic info.
  • Operon

    Jacob and Monad had given the concept of Operon (A unit made up of linked genes that is thought to regulate other genes responsible for protein synthesis.)
  • Monoclonal antibodies

    Kohler and Milestein came up with the concept of cytoplasmic hybridization and produced the first monoclonal antibodies
  • Field trials (plants)

    Field trials for biotech plants that are resistant to insects, viruses and bacteria are held in the United States.
  • Genetic Cheese making

    Genetic modifications used to make chymosin, an enzyme used in making hard cheese.
  • FlavrSavr® tomato

    Transgenic FlavrSavr® tomato is approved for sale in U.S. groceries. It was developed to have more flavor and to have a longer shelf-life than conventionally grown tomatoes.
  • GM soybeans and crops

    GM soybeans and corn are approved for sale, and GM cotton is commercialized in the United States. GM crops become the most rapidly adopted technology in the history of agriculture.
  • GM tomato paste

    GM tomato paste approved in the UK, first GM herbicide tolerant soya beans and insect protected maize approved in the E.U. In total, farmers in six countries plant GM crops on 1.7 million hectares.
  • Golden Rice

    German and Swiss scientists develop golden rice, fortified with betacarotene, which stimulates production of Vitamin A that can prevent some forms of blindness.
  • Human Genome

    Craig Venter, in 2000, was able to sequence the human genome; the first publically available genome is from JD Watson and Craig Venter.
  • Plant Genome

    The first entire plant genome is sequenced, Arabidopsis thaliana, which provides researchers with greater insight into the genes that control specific traits in many other agricultural plants.
  • Transgenic tomato

    U.S. and Canadian scientists develop a transgenic tomato that thrives in salty conditions, a discovery with the potential to create tomatoes and other crops that can grow in marginal conditions.
  • Billion dollar crop industry (GM)

    The National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy (NCFAP) study found that six GM crops planted in the United States - soybeans, corn, cotton, papaya, squash and canola- produced an additional 4 billion pounds of food and fiber on the same acreage, improved farm income by $1.5 billion and reduced pesticide use by 46 million pounds.
  • Expansion of GM crops

    Farmers in 18 countries plant GM crops on 67.7 million hectares.
  • Continuation of GM crops

    Farmers in 17 countries plant GM crops on 81.0 million hectares.
  • Nearly 1 billion Hectares of GM crops

    Farmers in 21 countries plant GM crops on 90.0 million hectares.
  • Replicating Genomes

    Craig Venter has been successful in demonstrating that a synthetic genome could replicate autonomously.