Table 1: An agricultural technology timeline

Technology Era Genetic interventions
Source: Adapted from van der Walt (2000) and FAO (2002a)
Traditional About 10 000 years BC Civilizations harvested from natural biological diversity, domesticated crops and animals, began to select plant materials for propagation and animals for breeding
About 3 000 years BC Beer brewing, che0ese making and wine fermentation
Conventional Late nineteenth century Identification of principles of inheritance by Gregor Mendel in 1865, laying the foundation for classical breeding methods
1930s Development of commercial hybrid crops
1940s to 1960s Use of mutagenesis, tissue culture, plant regeneration. Discovery of transformation and transduction. Discovery by Watson and Crick of the structure of DNA in 1953. Identification of genes that detach and move (transposons)
Modern 1970s Advent of gene transfer through recombinant DNA techniques. Use of embryo rescue and protoplast fusion in plant breeding and artificial insemination in animal reproduction
1980s Insulin as first commercial product from gene transfer. Tissue culture for mass propagation in plants and embryo transfer in animal production
1990 Extensive genetic fingerprinting of a wide range of organisms. First field trials of genetically engineered plant varieties in 1990 followed by the first commercial release in 1992. Genetically engineered vaccines and hormones and cloning of animals
2000s Bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics

Source: FAO "The State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004"
Chapter 2: What is agricultural biotechnology?
Section Understanding, characterizing and managing genetic resources

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Genetically Modified Crops homeGenetically Modified Crops
Other Figures & Tables on this publication:

Table 1: An agricultural technology timeline

Table 2: Genetic variation in concentrations of iron, zinc, beta-carotene and ascorbic acid found in germplasm of five staple foods, dry weight basis

Footnote on agricultural biotechnology in some developing countries