The History of Biotechnology

  • The Microscope Was Invented by Jansen

    Jansen and his father Hans were dutch spectacle makers who experimented with lenses and invented a prototype of the microscope. At the time, this invention didn't impact scientific discovery because the magnification was so weak, it mainly brought the new idea to light.
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    Ancient Biotechnology

    (technically started in 1750 BC when beer was first brewed)
  • Cells are first discovered and portrayed by Hooke

  • Robert Hooke first gives the first ever full description of the cell.

    Robert Hooke first gives the first ever full description of the cell.
    He viewed them as empty spaces contained by walls and coined the term "cell."
  • Leeuwenhoek discovers bacteria.

    Leeuwenhoek discovers bacteria.
    He improved the microscope to examine protozoa, which upon his discovery he called “animalcules.” Leeuwenhoek has been known as the father of microbiology for this discovery.
  • Edward Jenner invents the smallpox vaccine, which is the first vaccine.

    He inserted a small sample of the vaccine into a child and the boy became immune to the disease. It is said that the vaccine has saved the most lives of out of any human work.
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    Classical Biotechnology

  • Protiens Discovered.

    Jons Jakob Berzelius, a swedish chemist, discovers proteins.
  • Mendel- Law of Inheritance

    Through the crossbreeding of plants, Gregor Mendel develops his law of inheritance. He is now known as the father of modern genetics.
  • Burbank discovers plant breeding

    Luther Burbank creates 800 new strands of fruit, vegetables and flowers through plant breeding. His blight-resistant potatoes helped Ireland recover from their potato famine.
  • Rabies Vaccine

    Pasteur invented this vaccination by extracting a sample of spinal column from a rabies infected rabbit and injecting the disease into a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog.
  • Genes on Chromosomes

    Thomas Hunt Morgan discovers genes are on chromosomes. Through studies of breeding fruit flies, Morgan was able to observe the effects of the changing genes on different offspring of flies.
  • Biotechnology Printed

    The word “biotechnology” is used in print for the first time. The term was coined by a Hungarian agricultural engineer Karl Ereky.
  • Insulin Discovered

    Dr. Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best discover insulin as a treatment for diabetes. This hormone allows the body to use sugar for energy as wells as storing sugar for further use.
  • Penicillin discovered

    Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. By isolating penicillin from a fungus Fleming shaped the future of medicine in biotechnology.
  • Mobile Blood Transfusion

    Mobile blood transfusion was first introduced on the battlefield of the Spanish Civil War. The invention was created by Dr. Norman Bethune, a graduate of medicine.
  • Genetics Redefined

    Genetics Redefined
    James Watson and Francis Crick mark beginning of the modern era of genetics. Through an article describing their discovery of the helix-structure of DNA, new doors opened for genetics and DNA sequencing.
  • DNA polymerase

    The American biochemist Arthur Kornberg and colleagues discover DNA polymerase. This led the the furthering of the understanding as to how DNA is replicated.
  • Stem Cells

    James Till and Ernest McCulloch establish the concept of stem cells. They set the framework by which stem cells are studies today.
  • Combining cells

    Harris and Watkins successfully combine human and mouse cells. These cells include functioning human chromosomes and genes while combined with parts of the mouse cell.
  • Genetic Code Determined

    Genetic Code Determined
    Nirenberg, Khorana and Holley determine the genetic code. They identified the specific codons that determine the 20 amino acid units that make all proteins molecules.
  • Norman Borlaug Plant Breeding

    Norman Borlaug becomes the first plant breeder to win the Nobel Prize. His new wheat varieties increased crop yields by 70%.
  • Recombinant DNA

    Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer develop recombinant DNA technology. This is considered by many to be the birth of modern technology.
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    Modern Biotechnology

  • Cytoplasmic Hybridiaztion

    1975 Kohler and Milestein find the concept of cytoplasmic hybridization. They produced the first monoclonal antibodies, which has revolutionized the diagnostics.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction

    Kary Mullis, an American biochemist, develops the polymerase chain reaction. This discovery dramatically increased the pace of genetic research.
  • 40 new vaccines developed

    1986 Maurics Hilleman is recognized for developing over 40 vaccines. These vaccines included measles, mumps, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, pneumonia, and many more.
  • DNA sequencing

    The first automated DNA sequencer is invented by Lloyd M. Smith. It enabled the completion of the human genome project many years later.
  • Chymosin discovered

    An enzyme named Chymosin becomes the first genetically engineered food product. It acts as a substitute for rennet, an extract from the stomach lining of calves.
  • Nueral Stem Cells Discovered

    Sam Weiss identifies neural stem cells within the adult human brain. This led the way for other scientists around the world to investigate the stimulation of these cells to heal the brain.
  • First Cloned Mammal

    Dolly the sheep is born in Scotland. She was the first cloned mammal.
  • First successful transplant of pancreatic cells

    The first ever successful transplant of human pancreatic cells in preformed. This eliminated the need for insulin injections for people with severe Type 1 diabetes.
  • Human Genome Sequence Completeed

    The Human Genome Project finally comes to an end having achieved all its goals. The human genome sequence is completed.
  • Biollionth Biotech Acre

    One of the 8.5 million farmers in 21 countries grows the billionth biotech acre. People celebrated the symbolic universal acceptance of genetically engineered produce.
  • Synthetic Cell Created

    A synthetic bacterial genome that is a copy of an existing genome is created by J. Craig Venter. This genome can be transplanted into a host bacterium to create a “synthetic cell.”
  • Stem Cell Research Taken Further

    Access to Million of safe stem cells. Derrick Rancourt and Roman Krawetz develop a bioreactor that programs adults cells into cancer free stem cells. This helps avoid use of embriotic cells for stem cell research.