Timeline of biotechnology

From Wikipedia

The historical application of biotechnology throughout time is provided below in order. These discoveries, inventions and modifications are evidence of the evolution of biotechnology since before the common era.

Before Common Era

= Pre-20th Century

20th century''

21st century


  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]
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]
  • 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]


  • Biologists report the development of a new updated classification system for cell nuclei and find a way of transmuting one cell type into that of another. [124] [125]
Researchers present a bioprinting method to produce steak-like cultured meat.

See also


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