GMO Timeline – A History of Genetically Modified Foods

Carrots injected
As originally seen on Rosebud Magazine, ©2012, with sources added by GMO-Awareness

GMO foods are such an embedded part of our food system these days, but it’s not difficult to think back to a time when food was simpler and healthier. How did we get to the point that genetically modified organisms infiltrate so much of what we eat? In a recent issue of Rosebud Magazine, GMO expert GL Woolsey took a look at the history of GMOs. We present that for you here now.

1935 – DNA Discovered

Russian scientist Andrei Nikolaevitch Belozersky isolates pure DNA.

1973 – Recombinant DNA Created

The idea for man-made DNA, or rDNA, comes from a grad student at Stanford University Medical School. Professor Herbert Boyer and a few of his biologist colleagues run with it.

1975 – Asilomar Conference

A group of biologists get together with a few lawyers and doctors to create guidelines for the safe use of genetically engineered DNA. Source

1980 – First GMO Patent Issued

A 1980 court case between a genetics engineer at General Electric and the U.S. Patent Office is settled by a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling, allowing for the first patent on a living organism. The GMO in question is a bacterium with an appetite for crude oil, ready to gobble up spills. Source

1982 – FDA Approves First GMO

Humulin, insulin produced by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, appears on the market. Source

1994 – GMO Hits Grocery Stores

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the Flavr Savr tomato for sale on grocery store shelves. The delayed-ripening tomato has a longer shelf life than conventional tomatoes. Source

1996 – GMO-Resistant Weeds

Weeds resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide used with many GMO crops, are detected in Australia. Research shows that the super weeds are seven to 11 times more resistant to glyphosate than the standard susceptible population. Source

1997 – Mandatory Labels in Europe

The European Union rules in favor of mandatory labeling on all GMO food products, including animal feed. Source

1999 – GMO Crops Dominate

Over 100 million acres worldwide are planted with genetically engineered seeds. The marketplace begins embracing GMO technology at an alarming rate. Source

2003 – GMO-Resistant Pests Appear

In 2003, a Bt-toxin-resistant caterpillar-cum-moth, Helicoverpa zea, is found feasting on GMO Bt cotton crops in the southern United States. In less than a decade, the bugs have adapted to the genetically engineered toxin produced by the modified plants. Source

2011 – Bt Toxin Discovered in Humans

Research in eastern Quebec finds Bt toxins in the blood of pregnant women and shows evidence that the toxin is passed to fetuses. Source

2012 – Farmer Wins Court Battle

French farmer Paul Francois sues Monsanto for chemical poisoning he claims was caused by its pesticide Lasso, part of the Roundup Ready line of products. Francois wins and sets a new precedent for future cases. Source

2014 – GMO Patent Expires

Monsanto’s patent on the Roundup Ready line of genetically engineered seeds ends in 2014. However in 2009, Monsanto introduced Roundup 2 with a new patent set to make the first-generation seed obsolete. Source


© GMO-Awareness.com 2011–2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to GMO-Awareness.com with appropriate and specific links back to the original content.

9 thoughts on “GMO Timeline – A History of Genetically Modified Foods

  1. where is the history and origin of monsanto, info about GMO proliferation into the USA and europe, where is the info on how gmos have affected farmers in the US and the EU.????

    • nevermind! i have found more in about “GMO RISK”!

      if you want link me scholarly articles against GMOs!

    • As cited at the top of this page, the information was reprinted from Rosebud Magazine, and did not include sources for the various statements, however it was easy to locate the sources, so we’ve added them now. Thanks for the nudge!

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