Engineering:Timeline of biotechnology

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The historical application of biotechnology throughout time is provided below in chronological order.

These discoveries, inventions and modifications are evidence of the application of biotechnology since before the common era and describe notable events in the research, development and regulation of biotechnology.

Before Common Era

  • 5000 BCE – China discover fermentation through beer making.
  • 6000 BCE – Yogurt and cheese made with lactic acid-producing bacteria by various people.
  • 4500 BCE – Egyptians bake leavened bread using yeast.[1]
  • 500 BCE – Moldy soybean curds used as an antibiotic.
  • 300 BCE – The Greeks practice crop rotation for maximum soil fertility.[2] * 100 AD – Chinese use chrysanthemum as a natural insecticide.[1][3]

Pre-20th century

20th century

  • 1919 – Károly Ereky, a Hungarian agricultural engineer, first uses the word biotechnology.
  • 1928 – Alexander Fleming notices that a certain mould could stop the duplication of bacteria, leading to the first antibiotic: penicillin.
  • 1933 – Hybrid corn is commercialized.
  • 1942 – Penicillin is mass-produced in microbes for the first time.
  • 1950 – The first synthetic antibiotic is created.
  • 1951 – Artificial insemination of livestock is accomplished using frozen semen.
  • 1952 – L.V. Radushkevich and V.M. Lukyanovich publish clear images of 50 nanometer diameter tubes made of carbon, in the Soviet Journal of Physical Chemistry.
  • 1953 – James D. Watson and Francis Crick describe the structure of DNA.
  • 1958 – The term bionics is coined by Jack E. Steele.
  • 1964 – The first commercial myoelectric arm is developed by the Central Prosthetic Research Institute of the USSR, and distributed by the Hangar Limb Factory of the UK.
  • 1972 – The DNA composition of chimpanzees and gorillas is discovered to be 99% similar to that of humans.
  • 1973 – Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer perform the first successful recombinant DNA experiment, using bacterial genes.[4]
  • 1974 – Scientist invent the first biocement for industrial applications.
  • 1975 – Method for producing monoclonal antibodies developed by Köhler and César Milstein.
  • 1978 – North Carolina scientists Clyde Hutchison and Marshall Edgell show it is possible to introduce specific mutations at specific sites in a DNA molecule.[5]
  • 1980 – The U.S. patent for gene cloning is awarded to Cohen and Boyer.
  • 1982 – Humulin, Genentech's human insulin drug produced by genetically engineered bacteria for the treatment of diabetes, is the first biotech drug to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • 1983 – The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique is conceived.
  • 1990 – First federally approved gene therapy treatment is performed successfully on a young girl who suffered from an immune disorder.
  • 1994 – The United States Food and Drug Administration approves the first GM food: the "Flavr Savr" tomato.
  • 1997 – British scientists, led by Ian Wilmut from the Roslin Institute, report cloning Dolly the sheep using DNA from two adult sheep cells.
  • 1999 – Discovery of the gene responsible for developing cystic fibrosis.
  • 2000 – Completion of a "rough draft" of the human genome in the Human Genome Project.

21st century

  • 2001 – Celera Genomics and the Human Genome Project create a draft of the human genome sequence. It is published by Science and Nature Magazine.
  • 2002 – Rice becomes the first crop to have its genome decoded.
  • 2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed, providing information on the locations and sequence of human genes on all 46 chromosomes.
  • 2004 – Addgene launches.
  • 2008 – Japanese astronomers launch the first Medical Experiment Module called "Kibō", to be used on the International Space Station.
  • 2009 – Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute uses modified SAN heart genes to create the first viral pacemaker in guinea pigs, now known as iSANs.
  • 2012 – Thirty-one-year-old Zac Vawter successfully uses a nervous system-controlled bionic leg to climb the Chicago Willis Tower.
  • 2019 – Scientists report, for the first time, the use of the CRISPR technology to edit human genes to treat cancer patients with whom standard treatments were not successful.[6][7]
  • 2019 – In a study researchers describe a new method of genetic engineering superior to previous methods like CRISPR they call "prime editing".[8][9][10]

2020

  • 27 January – Scientists demonstrate a "Trojan horse" designer-nanoparticle that makes blood cells eat away – from the inside out – portions of atherosclerotic plaque that cause heart attacks[11][12][13] and are the current most common cause of death globally.[14][15]
  • 5 February – Scientists develop a CRISPR-Cas12a-based gene editing system that can probe and control several genes at once and can implement logic gating to e.g. detect cancer cells and execute therapeutic immunomodulatory responses.[16][17]
  • 6 February – Scientists report that preliminary results from a phase I trial using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing of T cells in patients with refractory cancer demonstrates that, according to their study, such CRISPR-based therapies can be safe and feasible.[18][19][20][21]
  • 4 March – Scientists report that they have developed a way to 3D bioprint graphene oxide with a protein. They demonstrate that this novel bioink can be used to recreate vascular-like structures. This may be used in the development of safer and more efficient drugs.[22][23]
  • 4 March – Scientists report to have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing inside a human's body for the first time. They aim to restore vision for a patient with inherited Leber congenital amaurosis and state that it may take up to a month to see whether the procedure was successful. In an hour-long surgery study approved by government regulators doctors inject three drops of fluid containing viruses under the patient's retina. In earlier tests in human tissue, mice and monkeys scientists were able to correct half of the cells with the disease-causing mutation, which was more than what is needed to restore vision. Unlike germline editing these DNA modifications aren't inheritable.[24][25][26][27]
  • 9 March – Scientists show that CRISPR-Cas12b is a third promising CRISPR editing tool, next to Cas9 and Cas12a, for plant genome engineering.[28][29]
  • 14 March – Scientists report in a preprint to have developed a CRISPR-based strategy, called PAC-MAN (Prophylactic Antiviral Crispr in huMAN cells), that can find and destroy viruses in vitro. However, they weren't able to test PAC-MAN on the actual SARS-CoV-2, use a targeting-mechanism that uses only a very limited RNA-region, haven't developed a system to deliver it into human cells and would need a lot of time until another version of it or a potential successor system might pass clinical trials. In the study published as a preprint they write that the CRISPR-Cas13d-based system could be used prophylactically as well as therapeutically and that it could be implemented rapidly to manage new pandemic coronavirus strains – and potentially any virus – as it could be tailored to other RNA-targets quickly, only requiring a small change.[30][31][32][33] The paper was published on 29 April 2020.[34][35]
  • 16 March – Researchers report that they have developed a new kind of CRISPR-Cas13d screening platform for effective guide RNA design to target RNA. They used their model to predict optimized Cas13 guide RNAs for all protein-coding RNA-transcripts of the human genome's DNA. Their technology could be used in molecular biology and in medical applications such as for better targeting of virus RNA or human RNA. Targeting human RNA after it has been transcribed from DNA, rather than DNA, would allow for more temporary effects than permanent changes to human genomes. The technology is made available to researchers through an interactive website and free and open source software and is accompanied by a guide on how to create guide RNAs to target the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome.[36][37]
  • 16 March – Scientists present new multiplexed CRISPR technology, called CHyMErA (Cas Hybrid for Multiplexed Editing and Screening Applications), that can be used to analyse which or how genes act together by simultaneously removing multiple genes or gene-fragments using both Cas9 and Cas12a.[38][39]
  • 10 April – Scientists report to have achieved wireless control of adrenal hormone secretion in genetically unmodified rats through the use of injectable, magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and remotely applied alternating magnetic fields heats them up. Their findings may aid research of physiological and psychological impacts of stress and related treatments and present an alternative strategy for modulating peripheral organ function than problematic implantable devices.[40][41]
  • 14 April – Researchers report to have developed a predictive algorithm which can show in visualizations how combinations of genetic mutations can make proteins highly effective or ineffective in organisms – including for viral evolution for viruses like SARS-CoV-2.[42][43]
  • 15 April – Scientists describe and visualize the atomical structure and mechanical action of the bacteria-killing bacteriocin R2 pyocin and construct engineered versions with different behaviours than the naturally occurring version. Their findings may aid the engineering of nanomachines such as for targeted antibiotics.[44][45]
  • 20 April – Researchers demonstrate a diffusive memristor fabricated from protein nanowires of the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens which functions at substantially lower voltages than previously described ones and may allow the construction of artificial neurons which function at voltages of biological action potentials. The nanowires have a range of advantages over silicon nanowires and the memristors may be used to directly process biosensing signals, for neuromorphic computing and/or direct communication with biological neurons.[46][47][48]
  • 27 April – Scientists report to have genetically engineered plants to glow much brighter than previously possible by inserting genes of the bioluminescent mushroom Neonothopanus nambi. The glow is self-sustained, works by converting plants' caffeic acid into luciferin and, unlike for bacterial bioluminescence genes used earlier, has a high light output that is visible to the naked eye.[49][50][51][52][53][54]
  • 8 May – Researchers report to have developed artificial chloroplasts – the photosynthetic structures inside plant cells. They combined thylakoids, which are used for photosynthesis, from spinach with a bacterial enzyme and an artificial metabolic module of 16 enzymes, which can convert carbon dioxide more efficiently than plants can alone, into cell-sized droplets. According to the study this demonstrates how natural and synthetic biological modules can be matched for new functional systems.[55][56][57][58]
  • 11 May – Researchers report the development of synthetic red blood cells that for the first time have all of the natural cells' known broad natural properties and abilities. Furthermore, methods to load functional cargos such as hemoglobin, drugs, magnetic nanoparticles, and ATP biosensors may enable additional non-native functionalities.[59][60]
  • 12 June – Scientists announce preliminary results that demonstrate successful treatment during a small trial of the first to use of CRISPR gene editing (CRISPR-Cas9) to treat inherited genetic disorders – beta thalassaemia and sickle cell disease.[61][62][63][64]
  • 8 July – Mitochondria are gene-edited for the first time, using a new kind of CRISPR-free base editor (DdCBE), by a team of researchers.[65][66]
8 July: Researchers report that they succeeded in using a genetically altered variant of R. sulfidophilum to produce spidroins, the main proteins in spider silk.[67]
  • 8 July – A team of RIKΞN researchers report that they succeeded in using a genetically altered variant of R. sulfidophilum to produce spidroins, the main proteins in spider silk.[67][68]
  • 10 July – Scientists report that after mice exercise their livers secrete the protein GPLD1, which is also elevated in elderly humans who exercise regularly, that this is associated with improved cognitive function in aged mice and that increasing the amount of GPLD1 produced by the mouse liver could yield many benefits of regular exercise for the brain.[69][70]
  • 17 July – Scientists report that yeast cells of the same genetic material and within the same environment age in two distinct ways, describe a biomolecular mechanism that can determine which process dominates during aging and genetically engineer a novel aging route with substantially extended lifespan.[71][72]
  • 24 July – Scientists report the development of a ML-based process using genome databases for designing novel proteins. They used inverse statistical physics to learn the patterns of amino acid conservation and co-evolution to identify design-rules.[73][74]
  • 8 September – Scientists report that suppressing activin type 2 receptors-signalling proteins myostatin and activin A via activin A/myostatin inhibitor ACVR2B – tested preliminarily in humans in the form of ACE-031 in the 2010s[75][76] – can protect against both muscle and bone loss in mice. The mice were sent to the International Space Station and could largely maintain their muscle weights – about twice those of wild type due to genetic engineering for targeted deletion of the myostatin gene – under microgravity.[77][78]
  • 18 September – Researchers report the development of two active guide RNA-only elements that, according to their study, may enable halting or deleting gene drives introduced into populations in the wild with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. The paper's senior author cautions that the two neutralizing systems they demonstrated in cage trials "should not be used with a false sense of security for field-implemented gene drives".[79][80]
10 November: Scientists show that microorganisms could be employed to mine useful elements from basalt rocks in space.[85]
  • 10 November – Scientists show, with an experiment with different gravity environments on the ISS, that microorganisms could be employed to mine useful elements from basalt rocks via bioleaching in space.[86][85]
  • 18 November – Researchers report that CRISPR/Cas9, using a lipid nanoparticle delivery system, has been used to treat cancer effectively in a living animal for the first time.[87][88]
25 November: The development of a biotechnology for microbial reactors capable of producing oxygen as well as hydrogen is reported.[89]
30 November: The 50-year problem of protein structure prediction is reported to be largely solved with an AI algorithm.[91]
  • 30 November – An artificial intelligence company demonstrates an AI algorithm-based approach for protein folding, one of the biggest problems in biology that achieves a protein structure prediction accuracy of over 90% in tests of the biennial CASP assessment with AlphaFold 2.[91][92][93]
  • 2 December – The world's first regulatory approval for a cultivated meat product is awarded by the Government of Singapore. The chicken meat was grown in a bioreactor in a fluid of amino acids, sugar, and salt.[94] The chicken nuggets food products are ~70% lab-grown meat, while the remainder is made from mung bean proteins and other ingredients. The company pledged to strive for price parity with premium "restaurant" chicken servings.[95][96]
  • 11 December – Scientists report that they have rebuilt a human thymus using stem cells and a bioengineered scaffold.[97][98]

2021

Optical appearance of self-assembled films of sustainable packaging alternative to plastic.webp
Researchers present a bioprinting method to produce steak-like cultured meat.
  • 0 Researchers present a bioprinting method to produce steak-like cultured meat, composed of three types of bovine cell fibers.[140][141]
  • Bioengineers report the development of a viable CRISPR-Cas gene-editing system, "CasMINI", that is about twice as compact as the commonly used Cas9 and Cas12a.[142][143]
  • Media outlets report that the world's first cultured coffee product has been created, still awaiting regulatory approval for near-term commercialization. It was also reported that another biotechnology company produced and sold "molecular coffee" without clear details of the molecular composition or similarity to cultured coffee except having compounds that are in green coffee and that a third company is working on the development of a similar product made from extracted molecules.[144][145][146] Such products, for which multiple companies' R&D have acquired substantial funding, may have equal or highly similar effects, composition and taste as natural products but use less water, generate less carbon emissions, require less and relocated labor[145] and cause no deforestation.[144]
The first CRISPR-edited food, tomatoes, goes on public sale.
  • Researchers report the world's first artificial synthesis of starch. The material essential for many products and the most common carbohydrate in human diets was made from CO2 in a cell-free process and could reduce land, pesticide and water use as well as greenhouse gas emissions while increasing food security.[147][148]
  • Media outlets report that in Japan the first CRISPR-edited food has gone on public sale. Tomatoes were genetically modified for around five times the normal amount of possibly calming[149] GABA.[150] CRISPR was first applied in tomatoes in 2014.[151]
  • Biomedical researchers demonstrate a switchable Yamanaka factors-reprogramming-based approach for regeneration of damaged heart without tumor-formation with success in mice if the intervention is done immediately before or after a heart attack.[152][153]
  • The World Health Organization endorses the first malaria vaccine – the antiparasitic RTS,S.[154]
  • 0 A new eco-friendly way of extracting and separating rare earth elements is described, using a bacteria-derived protein called lanmodulin, which binds easily to the metals.[155][156]
  • Medical researchers announce that on 25 September the first successful xenotransplantation of a, genetically engineered, pig kidney, along with the pig thymus gland to make the immune system recognize it as part of the body, to a brain-dead human with no immediate signs of rejection, moving the practice closer to clinical trials with some of the living humans waiting for kidney transplants.[157][158]
  • Researchers report the development of chewing gums that could mitigate COVID-19 spread. The ingredients – CTB-ACE2 proteins grown via plants – bind to the virus.[159][160]
  • Bionanoengineers report a novel therapy for spinal cord injury – an injectable gel of nanofibers that contain moving molecules that cause cellular repair signaling and mimic the matrix around cells. The therapy enabled paralyzed mice to walk again.[161][162][163]
  • 0 Biochemists report one of the first supercomputational approaches for the development of new antibiotic derivatives against antimicrobial resistance.[164][165]
  • Scientists report the development of a vaccine of mRNAs for the body build 19 proteins in tick saliva which, by enabling quick development of erythema (itchy redness) at the bite site, protects guinea pigs against Lyme disease from ticks.[166][167]
  • Sri Lanka announces that it will lift its import ban on pesticides and herbicides, explained by both a lack of sudden changes to widely applied practices or education systems and contemporary economics and, by extension, food security, protests and high food costs. The effort for the first transition to a completely organic farming nation was challenged by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[168][169]
  • A team of scientists reports a new form of biological reproduction in the, <1 mm sized, xenobots that are made up of and are emersed in frog cells.[170][171]
  • 0A method of DNA data storage with 100 times the density of previous techniques is announced.[172]
  • 0A stem cell-based treatment for Type 1 diabetes is announced.[173][174]
  • Scientists demonstrate that grown brain cells integrated into digital systems can carry out goal-directed tasks with performance-scores. In particular, playing a simulated (via electrophysiological stimulation) Pong which the cells learned to play faster than known machine intelligence systems, albeit to a lower skill-level than both AI and humans. Moreover, the study suggests it provides "first empirical evidence" of information-processing capacity differences between neurons from different species.[175][176]
  • Researchers report the development of face masks that glow under ultraviolet light if they contain SARS-CoV-2 when the filter is taken out and sprayed with a fluorescent dye that contains antibodies from ostrich eggs.[177]
  • Scientists report the development of a genome editing system, called "twin prime editing", which surpasses the original prime editing system reported in 2019 in that it allows editing large sequences of DNA, addressing the method's key drawback.[178][179]
  • An mRNA vaccine against HIV with promising results in tests with mice and primates is reported.[180][181]
  • A vaccine to remove senescent cells, a key driver of the aging process, is demonstrated in mice by researchers from Japan.[182][183]
  • Scientists call for accelerated efforts in the development of broadly protective vaccines, especially a universal coronavirus vaccine that durably protects not just against all SARS-CoV-2 variants but also other coronaviruses, including already identified animal coronaviruses with pandemic potential.[184]
  • Researchers report the development of DNA-based "nanoantennas" that attach to proteins and produce a signal via fluorescence when these perform their biological functions, in particular for distinct conformational changes.[185][186]
  • The first CRISPR-gene-edited seafood and second set of CRISPR-edited food has gone on public sale in Japan: two fish of which one species grows to twice the size of natural specimens due to disruption of leptin, which controls appetite, and the other grows to 1.2 the natural size with the same amount of food due to disabled myostatin, which inhibits muscle growth.[187][188]

2022

  • 0Researchers report the development of 3D-printed nano-"skyscraper" electrodes that house cyanobacteria for extracting substantially more sustainable bioenergy from their photosynthesis than before.[215][216]
  • 0Genetic engineers report field test results that show CRISPR-based gene knockout of KRN2 in maize and OsKRN2 in rice increased grain yields by ~10% and ~8% and did not find any negative effects.[217][218]
  • Publication of research reporting the sequencing of the remaining gap of the Human genome.[219][220]
  • 0Researchers report that CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has been used to boost vitamin D in tomatoes.[221][222][223]
  • 0Scientists report the first 3D-printed lab-grown wood. It is unclear if it could ever be used on a commercial scale (e.g. with sufficient production efficiency and quality).[224][225]
  • A new compact CRISPR gene editing tool better suited for therapeutic (temporary) RNA editing than Cas13 is reported, Cas7-11,[226][227] – of which an early version was used for in vitro editing in 2021.[228]
  • 0The world's smallest remote-controlled walking robot, measuring just half a millimetre wide, is demonstrated. Potential applications include the clearing of blocked arteries.[229][230]
  • Success of record-long (3 days rather than usually <12 hours) of human transplant organ preservation with machine perfusion of a liver is reported. It could possibly be extended to 10 days and prevent substantial cell damage by low temperature preservation methods.[231][232] On the same day, a separate study reports new cryoprotectant solvents, tested with cells, that could preserve organs by the latter methods for much longer with substantially reduced damage.[233][234]
  • First success of a clinical trial for a 3D bioprinted transplant, an external ear to treat microtia,[235] that is made from the patient's own cells is reported.[236]
  • Researchers report a robotic finger covered in a type of manufactured living human skin.[237][238]
  • Researchers report the controlled growth of diverse foods in the dark via solar energy and electrocatalysis-based artificial photosynthesis as a potential way to increase energy efficiency of food production and reduce its environmental impacts.[239][240]
  • Researchers describe a new light-activated 'photoimmunotherapy' for brain cancer in vitro. They believe it could join surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy as a fifth major form of cancer treatment.[241][242]
  • Researchers, health organizations and regulators are discussing, investigating and partly recommending COVID-19 vaccine boosters that mix the original vaccine formulation with Omicron-adjusted parts – such as spike proteins of a specific Omicron subvariant – to better prepare the immune system to recognize a wide variety of variants amid substantial and ongoing immune evasion by Omicron.[243]
A new CRISPR gene editing/repair tool alternative to fully active Cas9 is reported.
Researchers introduce and demonstrate the concept of necrobotics.
  • Scientists report an organ perfusion system that can restore, i.e. on the cellular level, multiple vital (pig) organs one hour after death (during which the body had warm ischaemia),[258][259] after reporting a similar method/system for reviving (pig) brains hours after death in 2019.[258][260] This could be used to preserve donor organs or for revival in medical emergencies.[258]
  • A bioengineered cornea made from pig's skin is shown to restore vision to blind people. It can be mass-produced and stored for up to two years, unlike donated human corneas that are scarce and must be used within two weeks.[265][266]
  • A weak spot in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is described by researchers, which an antibody fragment called VH Ab6 can attach to, potentially neutralising all major variants of the virus.[267][268] On 11 August, researchers report a single antibody, SP1-77, that could potentially neutralize all known variants of the virus via a novel mechanism, not by not preventing the virus from binding to ACE2 receptors but by blocking it from fusing with host cells' membranes.[269][270]
  • A university reports the first successful transplantation of an organoid into a human, first announced on 7 July,[273] with the underlying study being published in February.[274]
Wastewater surveillance is used to detect monkeypox[283]

See also

Medical

References

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