Biotech Timeline
Year Event
1 -18000 Middle Easterners domesticate and breed deer, antelope and sheep
3 -5000 Chinese domesticate and breed pigs
5 -4000 Egyptians master art of winemaking
7 -3000 South America peoples select and breed potatoes as staple crop
9 -2000 Egyptians and Sumerians learn brewing and cheese making
11 -300 Greeks develop grafting techniques for plant breeding
13 1276 The first whiskey distillery was established in Ireland
15 1500 Fermenting comes to the fore, leading to the development of sauerkraut and yogurt
17 1784 The first brewery is established in Canada
19 1852 In Paris, an international "Corn Show" features varieties from Syria, Portugal, Hungary and Algeria
21 1859 Charles Darwin's book "Origin of the Species" is published
23 1861 Louis Pasteur develops pasteurization, protecting food by heating it to kill dangerous microbes, removing the air and sealing it in a container
25 1865 Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, presents his laws of heredity
27 1940 Oswald Avery isolates pure DNA
29 1941 Danish microbiologist A. Justin coins term "genetic engineering"
31 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick describe double helix structure of DNA (receive Nobel Prize in 1962)
33 1970 Norman Borlaug becomes first plant breeder to win Nobel Prize for his work on Green Revolution wheat varieties
35 1973 Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer discover recombinant DNA technology, considered to be the birth of modern biotechnology
37 1981 Chinese scientists become first to clone a fish a golden carp
39 1981 Canada's first biotechnology company, Allelix, is formed
41 1982 The first genetically engineered product, human insulin, is approved for sale in US
43 1983 Canadian Biotechnology Strategy is established by Canadian government
45 1987 Hepatitis B vaccine approved for use in Canada
47 1988 World's first field tests for genetically engineered canola take place in Canada
49 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska is cleaned up with the help of bacteria
51 1990 The first food products modified by biotechnology, an enzyme for cheese production and a yeast for baking, are approved in US and UK respectively
53 1992 Canadian Human Genome Project announced by federal government
55 1993 The first animal hormone produced with biotechnology, Bovine somatotropin, is approved for use in US
57 1993 Canadian Michael Smith wins the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his pioneering work on a method of reprogramming segments of DNA
59 1994 Canada boasts 121 companies involved in biotechnology
61 1995 Three human biopharmaceutical products receive approval for AIDS and cancer
63 1996 Commercial production of biotechnology crops begin corn, potato and canola
65 1997 Birth of Dolly the sheep announced as the first successful mammal cloned from an adult cell