History of Biotechnology


Biotechnology became a well‐known industry in the late 1970s. Then it was seen to be based on recombinant DNA technology but the word biotechnology had been coined sixty years earlier and there had been an active debate since then about how life processes could be exploited to make useful products.

Keywords: biotechnology; bioengineering; eugenics; antibiotics; genetic engineering; recombinantDNA

Further Reading

Bud R (1993) The Uses of Life: A History of Biotechnology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Durant J, Bauer MW and Gaskell G (eds) (1998) Biotechnology in the Public Sphere. London: Science Museum.

Kenney M (1986) Biotechnology: The University–Industrial Complex. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Kolata GB (1998) Clone: The Road to Dolly, and the Path Ahead. New York: W Morrow.

Lederberg J (1962) Letter to Paul Doty, 15 November, National Library of Medicine. [http://www.profiles.nlm.nih.gov/BB/A/H/V/N/]

Pauly PJ (1996) Controlling life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology, 2nd edn. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Teitelman R (1989) Gene Dreams: Wall Street, Academia, and the Rise of Biotechnology. New York: Basic Books.

Tansey EM and Catterall PP (eds) (1995) Technology transfer in Britain: the case of monoclonal antibodies. Contemporary Record 9: 562–585.

Werskey G (1978) The Visible College: The Collective Biography of British Scientific Socialists of the 1930's. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

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How to Cite close
Bud, Robert(May 2003) History of Biotechnology. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003086]