1953 James Watson and Francis Crick published “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.” This paper explained the double helix nature of DNA molecules, detailing how linear arrays of code could be integrated in compact molecules. It wasn’t clear how this code could be translated into cellular proteins, but the difficult task of determining how information could be coded, physically, in linear chromosomes was tackled. (Mukherjee, 2016)
1953 Kevin Porter reported the presence of a cytoplasmic network which he named endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This work was follow-up to a 1945 report of transmission electron microscopy by authors Keith Porter, Albert Claude, and Ernest Fullam, in which they noted observations of a “lacelike reticulum… , possibly the homologue of kinoplasm.” Because the 1945 article focused on techniques for TEM study of tissue culture cells, concern was expressed that the reticulum could be an artifact of specimen preparation. In his 1953 follow-up study, Porter confirmed this network and applied the name. (“A Study of Tissue Culture Cells by Electron Microscopy – Methods and Preliminary Observations,” J Exp Med. 1945 Mar 1; 81(3): 233–246. PMCID: PMC2135493; PMID: 19871454) (Kevin Porter, 1953. “Observations on a submicroscopic basophilic component of cytoplasm.” J Exp Med. 97(5):727-50. [Also See: TL 1895, Garnier]
1953 Jean Giorno’s classic book, The Man Who Planted Trees, was rejected for publication by The Reader’s Digest as improbable, but hugely received the followingyear when printed in Vogue magazine. (Nabhan, 2013)
1953 The first service was held at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. Originally conceived by Edmond Blyth in 1930, the tree plantings cover nearly 10 acres of a 26-acre site. Owned by the National Trust, the garden (near Bedfordshire, England), was established as a memorial to those who fought in WW I. The concept of an open-air cathedral came to Blyth while visiting Liverpool’s cathedral, which was under construction at the time. Creation was delayed by WWII. It provides a site for various kinds of services in “faith, hope, and reconciliation.” Accepted by the National Trust in 1960, the site is operated by the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral Fund. (Stafford, 2016; WWW)
1953 Alan Bloom (developer of over 170 cultivars of perennial garden plants) began developing the gardens at Bressingham Hall (in Norfolk, England). His work there led to creation of Bressingham Steam and Gardens by 1961/62, and eventual creation of the Steam Museum as a charitable trust. As of 2017, the Bloom family continued to expand and operate the adjacent home and gardens as a business. (Bressingham Garden website, Steam Museum website, Wikipedia, 2017)
1954 Brown (combined in 1957 with Bonner and Weir) estimated that if humans were willing to sustain themselves through algae farms and yeast factories, 50 billion people could be supported on Earth. (Cohen, 1995)
1954 Harvard University consolidated Gray Herbarium and Arnold Arboretum research collections (library and herbaria), permanently relocating resources from the Arboretum (at Jamaica Plain) to the main campus in Cambridge. This move was challenged by various groups, but the University prevailed in a 1966 Massachusetts Supreme Court decision (see WWW arboretum.harvard.edu IBEDM archives.) Duplicate books were sold and many supporters became annoyed and alienated. Elmer Merrill willed his archives to New York Botanic Garden. Beatrix Farrand (who had been an Arboretum board member and supporter) gave her archive to UC Berkeley.
1954 On a trip to Russia, triticale breeder Stan Nalepa recalled hearing “a scientist at the Mironovsk Station in Ukraine assert that he could turn spring wheat into winter wheat by spraying the spring wheat with a solution of water and 5 percent sugar before frost. The sugar, he said seriously to his dumbfounded audience, would give strength to the spring wheat, and when it emerged in the spring, poof! Its very nature would be changed! It would have developed a winter habit, which it would then pass on to its progeny.” Nalepa said those results, though trialed in Hungary, Poland and other locations could not be repeated. (Dworkin, 2009) Thus the problem with Lysenkoism and other politically-selfish attempts (such as with recent US leadership) to commandeer science through stifling objective research.
1954 Harry Borthwick, Sterling Hendricks, Eben Toole, and Vivian Toole published “Action of Light on Lettuce-Seed Germination” in Botanical Gazette (115:205-225).
1954 W. C. Boyd, and E. Shapleigh introduced the term “lectin” as a group name for related hemagglutinating proteins. Because practitioners had discovered these chemicals can distinguish between the different blood types, Boyd and Shapleigh elected to use the name “lectin” (which comes from the Latin legere for “to select”) for this class of molecules. (Boyd and Shapleigh, 1954. “Specific precipitation activity of plant agglutinins (lectins”. Science 119,:419.) [See 1919, James B. Sumner; 1960 Peter Nowell]
1955 From the autobiography of Catherine Keever: “…I got a letter from Millersville State College offering me a job as full professor at fifty-five hundred dollars a year. It was a teacher’s college, they wanted someone with a Ph.D. in botany, and did not object to a woman.” (Keever, 1985)
1955 Carlos Miller and colleagues described kinetin, a substance derived from herring sperm, which acted like a plant hormone because it promotes cell division (cytokinesis). In 1961, Miller described zeatin, the first naturally-occurring plant cytokinin. This work grew from earlier studies on plant callus formation and cell-division by Folke Skoog and J. R. Jablonski. Before their work, Johannes van Overbeek had studied the impact of coconut milk on cell division in culture media. (University of Indiana website; Wikipedia, 2018; History of Cytokinins, website of the International Plant Growth Substances Association, 2018) [See 1913, 1961]
1955 The arrival of cellular molecular biology became evident when Heinz L. Fraenkel-Conrat and Robley C. Williams reported the purification of protein and RNA components of Tobacco Mosaic Virus (which are not infective when separated) and their reconstitution as infectious agents. (“Reconstitution of active tobacco mosaic virus from its inactive protein and nucleic acid components. Proc Natl Acad Sci”)
1956 G. Pincus disclosed that a drug derived from Dioscorea (the tropical yam, not to be confused with sweet potato) could stop ovulation, therefore preventing conception – allowing production of a birth control “pill” to replace the previous need for an injection. (Heiser, 1981) [See 1940]
1957 Extracts from the common periwinkle were found effective in the treatment of childhood leukemia. (Simpson, 1989)
1958 The protein that would be named phytochrome (in 1959) was characterized. (See: Tripping the Light Switch Fantastic in the USDA ARS Timeline for a complete discussion; also see: Isolation of Phytochrome, National Historic Chemical Landmark, at www.American Chemical Society/Education/Explore Chemistry/Chemical Landmarks).
1958 The US established its main seed bank, the National Seed Storage Laboratory, in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of seed samples are maintained. This is one of the 19 seed-storage facilities in the US that constitute the National Plant Germplasm System. (Levetin & McMahon, 1996)
1958 Accessioned as C-58, a strain of Agrobacterium fabrum (nee A. tumefaciens), a soil-borne, pathogenic bacterium involved in crown gall formation in many dicots, was isolated from a Cherry tree from the orchard at Cornell University, NY. C-58 has proven particularly useful in genetic transformation of Arabidopsis.
1958 Clark estimated that with 77 million square kilometers of temperate zone agriculturally useful land, the Earth could support 28 billion people. (Cohen, 1995)
1959 The Pajama Paper was published, a report that was given this nickname because its authors were Arthur Parde, François Jacob, and Jacques Monod, which was shortened to Pa-Ja-Mo. They investigated changes in E. coli physiology that allowed the cells to switch from using glucose as an energy source to using lactose. Their study indicates that genetic activity is managed, or operated, turned on and off in cells, through allied genes they christened as “operons”. This discovery provided a major clue as to how a cell can focus its own differentiation and activity, while it contains the complete genome. (Mukherjee, 2016)
1960 Peter Nowell reported that phytohemagglutinin (PHA), a lectin extracted from Phaseolus vulgaris (Red Kidney Bean), stimulates lymphocytes to divide (it is “mitogenic”.) His work altered traditional understanding that lymphocytes are incapable of dividing, and led to examination of Conconavalin A, the lectin extracted from Jack Bean [See TL 1919]. Researchers learned that the deadly activity of Conconavalin A relates to its binding to sugar (mannose). These discoveries led to the important use of “mitogenic lectins” in study of cell activity. (Boyd and Shapleigh, 1954. “Specific precipitation activity of plant agglutinins (lectins)”. Science 119,:419.)
1960 In the early years of the decade, clearing of Siberian forests near Batagai, seems to have triggered melting of permafrost, which led to formation of a megaslump, now called the Batagiaka crater. Over 1 kilometer wide, the crater continues to grow, freeing bones and carcasses of animals that died tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years ago. Those animals lived in a massive forest, which means scientists are able to extract all manner of specimens and data. In 2018, unearthing of a nearly intact, 40,000 year old foal was reported. The growing crater is both a treasure for exploration and a harbinger of dread for future climate change. Search the web for on-going discovery.
1961 François Jacob and Sydney Brenner carried much of the water in explaining how Messenger RNA functions to transcribe information held by DNA molecular sequences into actionable templates from which proteins could be constructed. (Mukherjee, 2016)
1961 Kleiber made an enlightening but ridiculous calculation. Assuming that 0.027 percent of Earth mass is carbon, and an average adult male embodies 12 kilograms of carbon, there is sufficient carbon on the planet to allow for formulation of organic molecules of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 people. But we also have to provide food. If people lived on potatoes alone, and 48 billion hectares were planted to potatoes (that includes all 13.3 billion hectares of land not under ice and most of Earth’s ocean areas), a population of 800 billion could be supported. (Cohen, 1995)
1961 Melvin Calvin was awarded the Nobel Prize. In association with Andrew Benson, James Bassham, and other scientists, he described the light-independent reactions (often called the dark reactions, or the Calvin cycle) of the photosynthetic system. Beginning with carbon dioxide, these reactions actually synthesize organic compounds (3-carbon phosphate sugars) that become glucose and other sugars. (Levetin & McMahon,1996)
1961 Carlos Miller characterized zeatin, the first cytokinin isolated from plant tissue (later named zeatin). Though published later, D. Stuart (David Stuart) Letham (Auckland, NZ) isolated this hormone in the same year. Today, Miller and Letham are given joint credit for this discovery. [See 1955] (History of Cytokinins, website of the International Plant Growth Substances Association, 2018; S. S. Lethm Trove, Encyclopedia of Australian Science, National Library of Australia website)
1961 University of Illinois researcher John Laughnan introduced his first strain of supersweet corn, revolutionizing the fresh corn industry. Laughman’s work inspired other researchers, leading to supersweet corn strains that retain native sugar through retarding starch formation. (Clampitt, 2015).
1961 Through use of Transmission Electron Microscope imagery, botanists were able to study internal structure of chloroplasts, revealing the layered nature of the grana, which Wilhelm Menke (Max Planck Institute) named thylakoids. (“Wilhelm Menke (1910–2007): a pioneer in chloroplast structure”, 2009 Photosynthesis Research 99 (2): 81–84
1962 Rachael Carson published Silent Spring, spurring an entirely new era of environmental concern and awareness. One could imagine that Silent Spring marks the beginning of an end to American belief in better living through chemistry.
1962 F. Rothschild introduced the conceptual (essentially religious) field of biosemiotics. “In the biological realm. Biosemiotics attempts to integrate the findings of biology and semiotics and proposes a paradigmatic shift in the scientific view of life, demonstrating that semiosis (sign process, including meaning and interpretation) is one of its immanent and intrinsic features. The term biosemiotic was first used by Friedrich S. Rothschild in 1962, but Thomas Sebeok and Thure von Uexküll have implemented the term and field. The field, which challenges normative views of biology, is generally divided between theoretical and applied biosemiotics.” You have to be into it to make sense out of it. Wikipedia, 2018
1962 Paul Green explained the effect of colchicine on spindle formation in Nitella.
1963 Microtubules were described in plant cells by Myron C. Ledbetter and Keith R. Porter (J Cell Biol. 1963 Oct 1; 19(1): 239–250., PMCID: PMC2106853 PMID:19866635) Using glutaraldehyde to kill and “fix” cells, the researchers described microtubules, fiber-like structures that are 25 nm in diameter and occur throughout plant cells. Ledbetter and Porter indicated these microtubules represent the same kinds of structures that constitute mitotic spindles and flagella. (“A Glorious Half-Century of Microtubules” EDITORIAL, 2013. The Plant Journal 75, 185–188 doi: 10.1111/tpj.12260
1963 Bizarre Stuff – “Maria Thun reveals to the world her comprehensive work on the cosmic influences upon plants and develops “The Star Calendar”, a sowing calendar that has since been published yearly in an ever-growing number of languages.” (Biodynamics, Demeter International website, History timeline)
1964 Graduate student Donald Currey, with permission and assistance of the U.S. Forest Service, cut down a Bristlecone pine tree at Nevada’s Wheeler Peak Scenic Area. On counting the rings of this tree (which had been named Promethius by conservationists) he discovered that the tree was at least 4,844 years old. This marked Promethius as 200 years older than Methuselah (a different Bristlecone pine, already documented as the oldest known living specimen). He had cut down what might have been the oldest living tree on earth. Currey’s study, published the following year in the scientific journal Ecology, partially led to creation of the Great Basin National Park in 1986. (Rutkow, 2012)
1964 The Surgeon General’s Report connected smoking with lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other diseases. [See 1761] (Levetin & McMahon, 1996)
1964 The US Congress chartered the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which today holds 180 acres on Kauai and 120 acres on Maui. (Campana, 1999)
1965 By this year, through work of many teams of researchers, all DNA triplets had been mapped to particular amino acids, providing the code that explained how Messenger RNA could translate the information carried by DNA into proteins. Mukherjee, 2016)
1965 Yoshiyuki Takasaki and Osamu Tanabe (working at the Japanese Fermentation Institute) developed a stable process to convert glucose to fructose. The tantalizing promise of that conversion had been the holy grail of the corn syrup industry. By 1967, Clinton Corn Processing Company had licensed rights to this enzyme for the US, and their scientists worked out kinks to industrialize the process. In a complex and rapid series of moves, large companies (particularly ADM) consolidated this emerging resource, marketing and defending high fructose corn syrup, which is called HFCS in the US, and HFGS (High Fructose Glucose Syrup) in Europe. By 1984 both Coca Cola and Pepsi converted to use of the new sweetener. Already liquid, more stable in solution, easily incorporated, and subsidized by the US government, HFCS quickly rose to equal status with sucrose for industrial food production. (Folsom, Botany of Sugars in Reader)
1965 Per Scholander, H. Hammel, Edda Bradstreet, and E. Hemmingsen published their research on Sap Pressure in Vascular Plants in the journal Science. By introducing a new pressure chamber technique (now called Scholander’s Bomb), the authors changed the course of experimental discovery regarding movement of sap through plants. (Vogel, 2012, and the PMS Instrument Company website)
1965 J. Willian Schopf published his first descriptions of prokaryotic life forms in pre-Cambrian stromatolites from Australia. He followed up on this work by examining similar sedimentary deposits from South Africa, Russia, India, and China. This was the first evidence that documents the presence of life forms on Earth 3.5 billion years ago. (Wikipedia, 2018)
1967 De Wit calculated the Earth’s potential photosynthetic output. Using a human requirement of 1,000,000 kilocalories per year and allowing for city and recreation space, he calculated Earth’s carrying capacity at 146 billion people. (Cohen, 1995)
1967 High-fructose corn syrup was introduced commercially by Clinton Corn Processing Co. (of Clinton, Iowa.) Manufactured using their patented enzyme Isomerose, the fructose sweetness of corn syrup was raised from 14% to 42%. With rising sugar prices, “Isosweet” became the sweetener for all major soft drinks. (Fussell, 1992)
1967 Alan Chadwick (a student of Rudolf Steiner) established the UC Santa Cruz Student Garden, based on Biodynamic/French Intensive Gardening methods he practiced. The UCSC garden was important in establishing the organic gardening movement in California.
1968 Head of the US Foreign Aid Program, W. Gaud, coined the term “Green Revolution.” [See 1970] (Levetin & McMahon, 1996)
1967 “On the origin of mitosing cells” (Journal of Theoretical Biology. 14 (3): 225–274) was published by Lynn Sagan (Margulis). Her thesis re-popularized century-old ideas that cellular organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts, originated as independent organisms, and are “symbiotic” components of contemporary cells. Andreas Schimper had noted the similarities between algae (Cyanobacteria) and plastids in 1883, as had Konstantin Mereschkowski in 1910. (see https://theendosymbiotichypothesis.wordpress.com/; see also Schimper, “Über die Entwicklung der Chlorophyllkörner und Farbkörper”. Bot. Zeitung. 41: 105-…162)
1968 Studying chloroplasts of tobacco, K. K. Tewari and S. G. Wildman demonstrated the presence of plastid DNA. This followed work by H. Ris and W. Plaut in 1962 reporting DNA-like material in chloroplasts of the alga Chlamydomonas. (McDonald, 2003)
1969 Herbert Huber published Die Samenmerkmale und Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse der Liliiflorae, his morphological studies of seed in plants that considered the group we think of as lilies. Huber’s conclusions presaged later studies that supported breaking the Asparagales apart from the broader, traditional order, the Liliales. This has meant that many plants (such as daylilies and asparagus) historically considered closely related to Lilies are now regarded as part of a separate, parallel lineage. (Wikipedia: Herbert Huber, 2017)
1969 Mary Lou Pardue and Joseph G. Gall published their article “Molecular Hybridization of Radioactive DNA to the DNA of Cytological Preparations”, in Proceedings of the National of Academy of Science/ From the Abstract: “A method is presented for detecting the cellular location of specific DNA fractions. The technique involves the hybridization of a radioactive test DNA in solution to the stationary DNA of a cytological preparation. Sites of DNA binding are then detected by autoradiography. Experiments with DNA of the toad Xenopus are described.” This work describes use of easily-visible fluorescent markers, i.e. FISH, which led to major advances in genetic and genomic studies.
1970 Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As the “Father of the Green Revolution” he developed high yielding dwarf strains of wheat while working at the Rockefeller-financed CIMMYT Agricultural Station in Mexico City. Use of such seed has allowed tropical countries to double their wheat productivity. Along with improvements in rice productivity at a similar center in the Philippines and other crops at yet more agricultural stations, the “Green Revolution” came into being. (Levetin & McMahon, 1996)
1970 Rio de Janeiro completed construction of the 4 km Copacabana beach promenade, with paving and landscape design by Roberto Burle Marx.
1971 Paclitaxel (PTX), sold as Taxol, was first isolated from the bark of Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). Between 1993 and 2005, the extracts received approvals in various countries for use in cancer treatments, as well as narrowing of arteries. Work had begun on Taxus in 1962, as a result of screening programs established by the National Cancer Institute. (Wikipedia,2018)
1971 Theodor Seuss Geisel (i.e. Dr. Seuss) published his environmental children’s book The Lorax. A mop-topped Monterey Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa, that was visible from the window of his study was said to have inspired his artwork for the book’s Truffula trees. The cypress fell of its own accord in June, 2019.
1972 DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) usage was banned in the US. (Levetin & McMahon, 1996)
1972 String trimmers were introduced. (Crotz in Punch, 1992)
1973 Lieth calculated the annual net primary production for land vegetation on Earth to be 100 billion tonnes of dry matter, having a caloric content of 426 thousand trillion kilocalories. (Cohen, 1995)
1973 Peter Thompkins and Christopher Bird published their book The Secret Life of Plants. Embraced by a public that adores mysticism and lambasted by the science community. for its anthropomorphic and unsupportable claims, the book seems to have found legs in popular culture, baffling and annoying researchers and instructors whose audiences seem to latch onto sensational alchemy while remaining refractory to supportable information. (Pollan, Michael, 2013. The Intelligent Plant, The New Yorker, December 23 & 30 Issue)
1973 The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was finalized in March. Having arisen from membership of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963, 80 countries came to agreement on the terms of the Convention, which came into effect 1 July 1975. (CITES website: “What is CITES?”)
1974 During his lecture, when receiving the Nobel Prize, Albert Claude, stated:“We have entered the cell, the Mansion of our birth, and started the inventory of our acquired wealth.”
1975 United Farm Workers won the concession to eliminate use of the short-handled hoe in lettuce cultivation. (Visser, 1986)
1976 Following discussion and planning in 1975 among the leadership of the National Shade Tree Conference, The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) was established. [See 1924] (Campana, 1999)
1976 Dan Janzen and coworkers reported that lectins extracted from Black Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) proved toxic to Bruchid Beetles, suggesting that lectins protect plants from insect damage. (Janzen, D.H., Juster, H.B., and Liener I.E. (1976) Insecticidal action of the phytohemagglutinin in black beans on a bruchid beetle. Science, 192, 795–796.)
1977 The perfectly preserved corpse (from the 2nd century B.C.) of the wife of the Marquis of Tai was found in Ch’ang-sha, China. In addition to melon seed discovered in her intestines, the tomb contained a bowl of peaches. Belief since the Ch’in Dynasty held that peaches “eaten in time” would preserve the body from deterioration forever. This custom survives today in the tradition of shou tao – the long life peach – a steamed roll served on birthdays. (Root, 1980)
1978 Rafael Guzman, a student at the University of Guadalajara, discovered an extant stand of perennial corn (a kind of teosinte) in the mountains near Jalisco. (Fussell, 1992)
1979 Liquid balsam produced by species of Copaifera (copaiba tree) was found to be so similar in composition to diesel fuel that it could be utilized (with no further processing) to power a diesel engine. (Lewington,1990)
1979 Stevie Wonder issue his album (with lyrics by Wonder and others), “Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants,” to accompany Michael Braun’s documentary “The Secret Life of Plants”. Search Wikipedia, or http://plantcurator.com/stevie-wonders-sixth-plant-sense/Lyrics for his song “The Secret Life of Plants”:
I can’t conceive the nucleus of all; Begins inside a tiny seed; And what we think as insignificant; Provides the purest air we breathe
(Chorus) But who am I to doubt or question the inevitable being; For these are but a few discoveries; We find inside the Secret Life of Plants;
A species smaller than the eye can see; Or larger than most living things; And yet we take from it without consent; Our shelter, food, habilment
But far too many give them in return; A stomp, cut, drown, or burn; As is they’re nothing; But if you ask yourself where would you be
Without them you will find you would not; And some believe antennas are their leaves; That spans beyond our galaxy; They’ve been, they are and probably will be; Who are the mediocrity
1980 In their ruling on Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the US Supreme Court determined that genetically-altered life forms could be awarded patents. From Wikipedia, 2018: “After (Ananda Mohran) Chakrabarty had appealed his patent’s initial rejection, the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals had reversed in his favor, stating that “the fact that microorganisms are alive is without legal significance to the patent law”. In response, Sydney Diamond, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, decided to take this case to the Supreme Court. Diamond had two arguments which were not well received by the court. The first called the existence of the 1930 Plant Patent Act and the 1970 PlantVarietyAct to suggest that there is a congressional understanding about the terms ‘manufacture’ and ‘composition of matter’ not referring to living things. The second was that microorganisms cannot qualify as patentable subject matter until Congres sauthorizes such protection since genetic technology was unforeseen when Title 35 U.S.C. 101 was first enacted.”
1980 With passage and signing of its Groundwater Management Act, Arizona became the first state to institute a system for statewide planning and managing of groundwater.
Historical water use practice relate to fair use, i.e. the landowner has right to use a reasonable amount of groundwater for reasonable purpose (such as farming). But given modern capacity for deep drilling and pumping, we enter an era when industrial and urban water use far exceed the capacities of Earth’s 37 major, ancient underground aquifer systems. Despite this attempt at planning and control, Arizona continues to lose ground in its struggles to stabilize exhausting ancient underground supplies. (see a Feature by Noah Gallagher Shannon, The New York Times Magazine, 19 July 2018: “The Water Wars of Arizona”). In 2014, California became the second state to enact a measure that encourages comprehensive management of water supplies.
1981 Hundreds of people in Spain became sick and died from consuming cheap olive oil that had been adulterated with French rapeseed oil. The rapeseed oil contained industrial aniline dyes and was manufactured only for use in steel mills. (Visser, 1986)
1982 Archaeologists working in Japan are said to have discovered Magnolia seed, still viable, from middens over 2,000 years old. I have not located the original source of this report. (Chaskey, 2014)
1982 The first genetically engineered crop was developed at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1994 the Flavr-Savr tomato became the first such plant approved for commercial marketing. The Flavr-Savr tomato was designed for slow fruit ripening and increased shop life. (Levetin & McMahon, 1996)
1983 Kary B. Mullis devised the polymerase chain reaction, a system to replicate large quantities of DNA from a small initial sample. The ability to create a large sample of DNA for testing and study had extraordinary impact on various fields of study, from areas of paleobiology to forensic analysis. (Cobb & Goldwhite, 1995)
1983 Barbara McClintock received the Nobel Prize for her work with the complex color patterns of Indian corn, studies that revealed moveable genetic elements termed “jumping genes.”
1983 Agrobacterium fabrum (A. tumefaceins) was successfully used for genetic transformation of plants (in tobacco) by P. Zambryskit, H. Joost, C. Genetellol, J. Leemans, M. Van Montagu and J. Schell. See their publication. “Ti plasmid vector for the introduction of DNA into plant cells without alteration of their normal regeneration capacity” The EMBO Journal 2(12): 2143-2150: “The vector pGV3850 makes use of the natural transfer properties of the Ti plasmid; only those genes which interfere with normal plant differentiation have been removed. Thus,the most important aspect of pGV3850- transformed cells is their capacity to regenerate into complete plants. These plants can be derived from single cells and the regeneration process itself is extremely simple, requiring only minor changes in tissue culture conditions… evidence has been presented that the Ti vector has evolved to a point where it is ready to be used to genetically engineer whole plants; it remains for us to turn our efforts toward the isolation of particular genes whose expression we wish to study.”
1985 In her 1985 autobiography, plant ecologist Catherine Keever related stories of students and other young people in the late 1960s: “My neighbor got quite concerned when her son began wearing a beard and long hair, I tried to tell her not toworry, with no success. That Christmas I bought six cards that showed the head of Jesus with beard and long hair and sent them to six friends who were good church people and who objected to beards. I wrote on the cards, ‘I have many students who look like this and they are nice too,’ I heard no more complaints…”(Keever, 1985)
1987 Richard A. Jefferson published his GUS reporter gene system, which he had already shared extensively in his effort to support open sources for techniques. Jefferson’s technique has been widely adapted and utilized in plant transformation. The article, “Assaying chimeric genes in plants: The GUS gene fusion system”. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter. 5 (4): 387–405, is heavily cited. GUS is the symbol for the gene that codes for glucuronidase.
1987 Southern England experienced its “Great Storm” on 16 October, which resulted in loss of an estimated 15 million trees. See the 1787 entry for Spencer Turner in this TimeLine for the related tale of the Turner Oak….
1987 Snowdrop lectin (GNA – Galanthus nivalis agglutinin) was brought to the attention of researchers through Els J.M Van Damme, Anthony K. Allen, and Willy J. Peumans, introducing a new agglutinin that might have potential medical value, but also would prove toxic to various major crop insects, such as rice, sugarcane, papaya, potato, tomato, etc. Over the next decade, many distant relatives of Galanthus would be investigated, the structures and isoforms described, and genetic sequences made available for transgenic work. (Van Damme, Allen, & Peumans, 1987. “Isolation and characterization of a lectin with exclusive specificity towards mannose from snowdrop”, (Galanthus nivalis) bulbs. FEBS Letters 215, 140-144: “GNA represents apparently a new type of plant lectin with a unique carbohydrate-binding specificity. Since this lectin can easily be isolated in reasonable amounts from readily available material it can be of great potential use as a biochemical tool.” Since that publication, genes for Snowdrop lectin have been introduced to various crops in order to reduce insect damage. https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1016/0014-5793%2887%2980129-1
1988 W. S. Merwin writes: “On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree… ” Many of his poems relate the human condition to the passing beauty of plants and gardens, including most evidently the poetry in his later volume, Garden Time, published in 2016.
1989 Charles Jencks and his wife Maggie Keswick, began Portrack, the “Garden of Cosmic Speculation”, situated north of Dumfries, Scotland. The 13-hectare landscape includes numerous spaces designed around cosmic ally-inspired sculpture. As of 2017, Portrack remains a private garden which opens one day a year. Despite very restricted access, the landscape regularly appears in lists of great or most beautiful gardens in the world. (Search the web for imagery and information)
1990 Of more than 400,000 naturally occurring plant species, 90% of human nutritional needs are met by 103 species. (Prescott-Allen & Prescott-Allen, 1990)
1990 Project SEEDS was launched by NASA and The George W. Park Seed Co., allowing school students around the USA to compare growth of seed exposed to conditions ofspace with that of seed stored on earth. (Levetin & McMahon,1996)
1990 The US Organic Foods Production Act authorized the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to establish a National Organic Program (NOP) in order to standardize inputs and methods that allow use of the “Meets USDA Organic Requirements” label. (Wikipedia, 2016)
1990 Apple Day was instituted in England, promoted by a group that stresses local character. The day normally designated is 21 October. (Stafford, 2016; Wikipedia 2018)
1992 Based on heavy demand for the bark of Pacific Yew (for cancer research and treatment), The Pacific Yew Act (HR 3836) was signed into law, ensuring management of Taxus on Federal lands for sustainable yield of Taxol. Soon thereafter, semi-synthetic methods were devised to extract the active compound from the more common Taxus baccata. (Source: Website of The American Presidency Project, 2018) [See TL1971]
1993 The Convention on Biological Diversity was established.
1993 As a result of the 1990 census, the US Government eliminated the annual survey of farm residents. Louv considers that abandonment as the demarcation between Frederick Jackson Turner ‘s second frontier (1893) and today’s third frontier – which he explains as defined by five trends: 1. Lack of connection to food production; 2. Blurring of lines between humans, other animals, and machines; 3. Intellectualization of human interaction with other animals; 4. Urbanization of wild animals; 5. Creation of a new more expansive suburbia. (Louv, 2008)
1994 The US Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) was passed andsigned. As a response to adverse fallout of the deregulation (removal of certain regulatory authority by the Food and Drug Administration), Congress modified the act with a Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act in 2007. Today, rules require manufacturers meet purity standards and report evidence of serious adverse reactions. (Block, 2010)
1994 David Nobel (a national park staff member) discovered a stand of unusual trees in Wollemi National Park within 200 kilometers of Sydney, Australia. The trees were judged to represent an entirely new genus and species, Wollemia nobilis, in the Araucariaceae (the monkey-puzzle tree family).
1995 Els Van Damme and his lab continued their extensive exploration of lectins in monocots. In their 1995 publication, the lab reported that lectins constitute the most prevalent protein in tubers of Aroids (AMA Arum maculatum agglutinin). This flies in the face of The Plant Paradox Diet (Gundry, 2017), which stresses consuming tropical tubers (such as taro) in order to avoid a diet heavy in plant lectins. (Van Damme EJ1, Goossens, K, Smeets K, Van Leuven F, Verhaert P, Peumans WJ. , 1995. “The major tuber storage protein of Araceae species is a lectin. Characterization and molecular cloning of the lectin from Arum maculatum”. Plant Physiol. 107(4):1147-58.) You can purchase your own stock of all sorts of plant lectins from EY Labs (eylabs.com) – their motto: “Tomorrow’s Reagents for Research Today”
1996 Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready soybean seed, the first genetically modified herbicide tolerant agricultural crop. By 2004, herbicide tolerant soybean, maize (corn), canola, and cotton covered 80 million hectares, constituting 80% of those crops grown world-wide. (Thomson, 2007) Monsanto began purchasing stakes in major US producers of hybrid corn seed (which had become partners in producing Bt insect-resistant corn) and by 1999 had acquired DeKalb, Holden Foundation Seeds, and Pioneer Hi-Bred. Monsanto merged with Pharmacia in 2000, and was purchased by Bayer in a transaction that closed in June, 2018.
1997 Heartless, bitter, and cynical – logger Grant Hadwin stole into the forest night on 20 January, at Haida Gwaii, in the Queen Charlotte Islands of Canada’s British Columbia. His villainous goal, to destroy the famous Golden Spruce, sacred to the native Haida Peoples. Cutting well through most of the 7 foot diameter base of the 165 foot tall tree, he left it to fall two days later. (Vaillant, 2005)
1997 Control of Hong Kong was returned to China in response to treaty conditions negotiated 150 years previously, following the Opium Wars with Great Britain [See 1840]
1998 The Department of Botany at The University of Texasat Austin was decommissioned, following the 3-decade trend at major research universities to consolidate historically separate biological sciences (based on natural classification, such as botanical and zoological studies), then redistribute them based on research technique.
1999 News: John Litchfield, 11 May, “Trees that shaded Napoleon’s troops face their Waterloo”… One hundred Plane Trees lining roads near Ariege, France, were taken down. Now considered hazards for automobile drivers who veer off the road, the trees are said to be part of a campaign by Napoleon to provide shade along byways through which troops marched. Over 20,000 trees in the French Dpt of Gers had been removed or were scheduled for removal at the time of the news report. The article indicates that removal of the Napoleonic trees does not seem to have impacted the rate of tragic automobile accidents. See also: 12 February 2004, The Economist, “The Killer Trees”; John Litchfield, 9 March 2015, Independent, “French campaigners up in arms over plan to chop down Napoleon’s roadside trees.”
2000 Ten years after the US National Science Foundation selected Arabidopsis thaliana as the plant study organism for studies to elucidate the entire genetic sequence, and following four years of intense research in laboratories (at a cost of over $70 million), researchers announced the project was complete. The sequence of the approximately 120 million nucleotides (about 25,000 genes) that constitute the DNA of this plant was now known. (Chamovitz, 2012)
2000 Commemorating California’s sesquicentennial, the U.S. Postal Service introduced a 33¢ stamp featuring flowering specimens of the invasive Sea Fig, Carpobrotus chilensis. (Beidleman, 2006)
2001 Genetically-modified (GM, i.e. transgenic) crop plants had clearly become mainstream, highlighted through reassessment this year by the US Environmental Protection Agency, reaching the conclusion that Bt cotton and Bt corn did not pose significant environmental risk for the environment or for human health. In 2001, Bt white corn was planted in South Africa for basic human subsistence (direct consumption) for the first time (previously, all GM maize had been used for animal food). By 2002, 6.8 million hectares had been planted to Bt cotton worldwide (12% of the world’s production.) (Thomson, 2007) [Bt is the abbreviation for Bacillus thuringiensis, a soil-living bacterium. Bt produces what compounds called crystal proteins, abbreviated as Cry proteins, that are toxic to insect larvae, and are the active compounds in Bt pesticides. Companies have modified crop plants genetically by inserting the Cry genes, which cause the engineered crop plants to produce the toxin.]
2001 Quist and Chapela published information in the journal Nature stating that transgenic DNA had appeared in native landraces of corn (maize) in Mexico. This publication engendered serious debate concerning the safety of transgenic crops. By 2002 Nature retracted the article. A subsequent publication by Ortiz-Garcia, Ezcurra, Schoel, Acevedo, Soberón, and Snow (Proceedings National Academy of Sciences) presented results from screening of over 150,000 seed samples in which no evidence of transgenic introgression could be discovered. (Thomson, 2007) [See TimeLine, Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces, 2017]
2001 Betty Brown Casey donated funds which led to the 2002 establishment of Casey Trees, a non-profit dedicated to restoring, enhancing, and protecting the tree canopy of Washington, D.C.. In 2008, Ms. Casey also gifted the family’s 730 acre tree farm (in Berryville, Virginia) to the foundation. (Wikipedia, the Casey Trees website)
2001 Complementing the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) completed negotiations for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (aka the International Seed Treaty). Adopted by a vote of 116 to 0 (with the US and Japan abstaining), the treaty came into force in 2004. (Dworkin, 2009) Based on the 1983 International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IU), the new Treaty reinterpreted ownership of foodplants as belonging within jurisdiction of country of origin (as contrasted with the 1983 IU claim these resources are the common heritage of humanity.) (Wikipedia, 2017)
2001 Arsonists claiming to be part of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) destroyed Merrill Hall (University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture), which housed the working lab of Dr. Toby Bradshaw, who was studying genetics and gene-modification in Populus. (September, 2001, Briefings, Arsonists Destroy Merrill Hall in $4.1 Milion Blaze, COLUMNS – The University of Washington Alumni Magazine.
2003 Joseph Cotter’s post-mortem publication, Troubled Harvest, details socio-economic and political nuances of Mexican agriculture, leading to and through development of the Green Revolution. Discussion engages top-down, earnest attempts to industrialize (modernize?) agricultural practice in a political context of land ownership, and the historically near-subsistence nature of Mexico’s rural life. The drama is described as flawed evolution of a technical class (the agrónomos) in conflict with always-struggling traditional farmers (the campesinos). His conclusion damns good intentions: “With political empowerment the campesinos’ wisdom may not be lost or stolen in a maelstrom of neoliberal-induced technological and socioeconomic change.” (Cotter, 2003)
2004 The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT PGRFA, sometimes called the International Seed Treaty) was signed by 135 countries. The agreement, which recognizes exotic origins of food crops important to most of the world’s countries, complements the CBD (Convention for Biological Diversity). Negotiated through the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Governing body has existed as a separate organization in the FAO since 2006. The Treaty replaced the 1983 International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IU), which had considered genetic resources as the common heritage of humanity. The new Treaty was imagined as a compromise between political oversight by states, stakeholding by traditional farmers, and needs of an expanding world population. In the end, it is not clear what has been achieved of real value, outside bringing so many voices to the table that progress is hard wrought on any front.
2005 Richard Louv’s acclaimed book, Last Child in the Woods, was first published. Citing countless supporting studies, Louv documents societal change resulting from contemporary trends in urbanization. His commentary unites observations and concerns (from fields as wide ranging as ecology, evolution, conservation, and child psychology) related to the contemporary child’s lack of freedom to work and play in natural environments into a societal call to guarantee all children access to and relationship with the natural world. (Louv, 2008)
2005 Methuselah is the name given to a date palm grown by Dr. Elaine Solway, at Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. The palm grew from a seed unearthed in 2005 at the Masada archaeological site, left for nearly 2,000 years in a jar where date pits were stored following consumption. http://www.haaretz.com/2-000-year-old-date-seed-grows-in-the-arava-1.213054
2006 Brasil’s famous Inhotim, a contemporary art museum and botanical garden complex, opened to the public. Created and funded over two decades by Bernado Paz, the basic landscape plan was created by his friend Roberto Burle Marx. In November, 2017, Paz was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to 9 years in prison. (WWW)
2006 Sixteen seed of Liparia villosa (as well as one seed each of an Acaciaand a Leucospermum) germinated at Kew Gardens, They were recovered from a leather wallet dating to 1803. The wallet was encountered by Dutch researcher Roelof van Gelder, while examining documents held in the UK National Archives. The papers he examined had been part of material taken in 1803 when the British Navy seized the Dutch ship Henriette. The wallet belonged originally to Vlissingen merchant Jan Teerlink,who had been aboard the ship en route from China to Holland. Apparently,Teerlink collected the seed in South Africa (perhaps in the Dutch East India Company garden (est. 1652) when the ship anchored there for provisions. (Fry,2016)
2006 Xavier Metz, a French plantation manager in Madagascar, encountered a massive flowering palm in the northwestern regions of the country. Herbarium specimens of the palm, which was 18 meters tall with a 5 meter leaf span, were made by Mijoro Rakotoarinivo. Rakotoarinivo and John Dransfield determined this was not simply an undescribed species, but is sufficiently distinct so as to be recognized as a monotypic genus, thus Tahina spectabilis. (Willis and Fry, 2014)
2006 Researchers (G. A. Tuskan, et al) published a draft genomic sequence of a selected Populus trichocarpa female specimen (Nisqually-1), in Science. This was the first woody plant to be sequenced. [See also TL 2001, Arson] (Stafford, 2016; Wullschleger, et al, Revisiting the sequencing of the first tree genome: Populus trichocarpa, Tree Physiology 00, 1-8, doi:10.1093/treephys/tps081) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232705803_Revisiting_the_sequencing_of_the_first_tree_genome_Populus_trichocarpa
2006 “An important factor in the domestication process was defecation. The seeds of sweet corn, tomatoes, lemons, cucumbers, and many more edible plants, as well as the fruits of shrubs and trees, can pass intact through human and animal guts (their reproductive vigor may even be enhanced), to be subsequently dispersed and reproduced. In the case of humans, the peripheral latrine areas common to virtually all societies would become new gardens in time.” Excerpt From: Michael Williams, 2006. “Deforesting the Earth.”
2007 Storage chambers made by a pre-historic arctic ground squirrel (Urocitellus parryii) were excavated in permanently frozen loess-ice deposits along the lower Kolyma River, in northeastern Siberia. The deposits included several hundred thousand seed and fruit specimens. Deep in the deposits, researchers collected seed of Silene stenophylla, which showed radiocarbon dates of nearly 32,000 years when examined through radiocarbon dating techniques. By 2012, Svetlana Yashina, Stanislav Gubin, Stanislav Maksimovich, Alexandra Yashina, Edith Gakhova, and David Gilichinsky reported successful germination of several seed from the trove in aProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article: “Regeneration of whole fertile plants from 30,000-yr-old fruit tissue buried in Siberian permafrost.” (Science News, 23 Feb 2012)
2008 A Swiss commission was established to consider ethical issues related to the dignity of plants. (Chamovitz, 2012) See The dignity of plants, Florianne Koechlin, Plant Signal Behavior, 2009, 4:78-79 and Simacha Lev-Yadun (Letter to the Editor) Bioehtics: On the road to an absurd land, Plant Signal Behavior 2008, 3:612. From Koechlin:
“Anything and everything can be done with plants today; there is no ethical consideration, no awareness of any problem. But it is slowly getting harder to justify this attitude toward plants. Philosophers and experts on ethics, but also molecular biologists and scientists, sit in the ECNH. We have tried to work out the ethical basis for attributing dignity to plants. Many questions were controversial, but in one there was agreement: plants should not be treated in a completely arbitrary way. Plants are living beings and must be respected for their own sake. Arbitary injury or destruction of plants is not permissible. The Committee could not agree on the meaning of ‘arbitrary.’ For some, this was the senseless picking of roadside flowers, for others—I among them—the massive and total instrumentalisation and industrialisation of plants. In my view, the ‘terminator’ technology (GURT technologies) and other methods to produce sterility with the exclusive goal of making plants available for the maximizing of economic profit of humans, as well as the patenting of plants, violate their dignity.”
Note: Switzerland is one of only two countries that does not follow international standards for conducting clinical trials of herbal medicines. Production of herbal medicines is a major protected industrythere.
2008 Simone Moser, Thomas Müller, Marc-Olivier Ebert, Steffen Jockusch, Nicholas Turro, and Bernard Kräutler published their article Blue Luminescence of Ripening Bananas, explaining that breakdown of chlorophylls in banana (as the yellow color begins to show) yields fluorescent compounds (catabolites) that cause blue (or indigo) luminescence under black light. Their report raised intriguing questions as to the meaning or value of these lingering compounds and their luminescence. Perhaps this change in color could be perceived by animals in which vision is skewed to the UV range, or perhaps these compounds might impact quality of this very moist fruit as breakdown proceeds. At a simple level, the most intriguing issue is that such a simple initial observation has not surfaced before – proof there are still mysteries that can be readily identified whensomeone takes a fresh look at the common. (Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2008, 47:8954-8957)
2010 The first instance of regulation-required destruction of a GMO crop was reported, when US District Federal Judge J. S. White ordered elimination of several hundred acres of Sugar Beets grown from Monsanto’s genetically-modified Roundup Ready seed (glyphosate-resistant). Based on shortages of non-GMO seed, the USDA had allowed use of GMO seed in advance of completing an Environmental Impact Statement, leading to challenges, i.e. Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. C10-04038 JSW (N.D. Cal. 2010) (Source: EarthJustice, 1 December 2010) By August, 2012, USDA-APHIS completed the study, finding Roundup Ready (RR) Sugar Beets safe for use. (Western Farm Press, 15 August 2012)
2011 The Institute of Food Resources, in collaboration with botanists at the J Hohn Innes Centre, released ‘Beneforté’ – a new strain of broccoli that includes parentage from Brassica villosa, a Silician relative of the cabbage (B. oleracea) with relatively high level of glucoraphanin. Production and distribution rights for the seed were licensed to Seminis, which was purchased by Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018. (Fry, 2016; “Beneforte, Super Broccoli”. Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, UK. 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014. http://www.superbroccoli.info)
2012 On 7 February, Plantagon (a Swedish company) broke ground on a new multi- purpose building in Linköping, Sweden. This World Food Building incorporates a multi- story greenhouse as its south-facing wall. Ostensibly, the greenhouse will support urban hydroponic farming in an attempt to reduce both footprint and distance issues related to feeding a growing world. Coining the term “agritechture” highlights corporate promotion of automated agriculture integrated with modern urban life. It will be curious to see how reality and concept play out as the challenges of hydroponics (which depend greatly on chemical treatment and balance not easily coincident with organic methodologies) meet occupancy concerns of office workers and potential residents in such buildings Completion is scheduled for 2020.(Plantagon website, for press release info: http://www.plantagon.com/about/business-concept/the-linkoping-model/)
2012 Russian biologists reported successful germination of Silene stenophylla seed, which had been uncovered near the Kalyma River in Siberia. The cache of seed had been carbon-dated as 32,000 years old. [See 2007] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silene_stenophylla
2012 Jennifer Doudna (UC Berkeley) and Emmanuela Charpentier (Max Planck Institute) proved that CRISPR technology could be targeted for gene editing. Their work represents an important breakthrough in the quickly-evolving story of CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) which were first identified in 1987 by Japanese Researcher Yoshizumi Ishino, described by Spanish researcher Francisco Mojica in 1993, and named by University of Utrecht Researcher Ruud Jansen in 2002.
2012 The Tomato Genome Consortium of researchers published the first complete genome of tomato (inbred cultivar ‘Heinz 1706’) in Nature: “The tomato genome sequence provides insights into fleshy fruit evolution”, Nature 485: 635–641 (31 May 2012). The 12 (n) chromosomes included 900 million base pairs. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) evidenced an 8% difference from potato (Solanum tuberosum).
2013 Wen Zhi Jiang and colleagues (H. Zhou, H. Bi, M. Fromm, B. Yong, and D. P. Weeks) demonstrated success in using CRISPR gene-editing techniques (introduced the previous year by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier) in Arabidopsis, tobacco, sorghum, and rice. In 2018, the USDA ruled gene editing a safe technique for crop development. (Jiang, W. et al. Demonstration of CRISPR/Cas9/sgRNA-mediated targeted gene modification in Arabidopsis, tobacco, sorghum and rice. Nucleic Acids Res. 41, e188 (2013).) See Xuan Liu, Surui Wu, Jiao Xu, Chun Sui, Jianhe Wei, 2017. “Application of CRISPR/Cas9 in plant biology” Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B 7(3), May 2017, Pages 292-302, open access https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211383516302982See Kamburova, et al, 2017. Genome Editing in Plants: An Overview of Tools and Applications, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ija/2017/7315351/; https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/7315351
2013 Trials of “Golden Rice” produced through genetic engineering at the International Rice Research Institute (in the Philippines) were destroyed by a small crew of criminals masquerading as farmers and paid by anti-GMO forces. Rice is made “golden” through addition of genes that enable the rice to generate beta-carotenes, which are precursors to Vitamin A in human diets. Greenpeace is among organizations that oppose Golden Rice.
2014 The Future Library was established. Katiepatterson.org: “A forest has been planted in Norway, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in 100 years time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unread and unpublished, until the year 2114. The manuscripts will be presented in a specially designed room in the new public library, Oslo. Writers to date include Margaret Atwood (2014), David Mitchell (2015), and Sjón(2016).”
2014 France’s Parliament approved a new law banning cultivation of genetically-modified corn (maize). The law was meant to reinforce and extend bans already instituted by a March decree (which was ruled unenforceable by French courts in 2016) and the European Union. In early May, activists had damaged a field of corn said to have been planted with MON810 maize seed (Monsanto’s insect-resistant seed, the only GMO seed approved for use in the European Union.) (Reuters, 5 May 2014)
2014 A GMO Camelina sativa (False Flax) was developed and introduced by Rothamsted Research (Hertfordshire) that produces Omega 3 Fatty Acids in its seed oil. The new seed were engineered to provide fish food for farmed salmon, which require dietary omega 3 fatty acids, otherwise provided through consumption of marine algae (Fry, 2016). Studies into the viability of this sourcing were conducted through the IoA (Institute of Aquaculture) based at Sterling University, Scotland. The work stretched over two decades of research by botanist Jonathan Napier and nutritionist Doublas Tocher (source: Gareth Moore, 1 August 2018, Fish Farming Expert)
2015 Tu Youyou became the first Chinese woman recipient of a Nobel Prize, awarded for her work in elucidating anti-malarial effectiveness of extracts from Artemesia. See Wikipedia and other WWW sources.
2015 Hershey Company announced a policy to discontinue use of sucrose manufactured from Sugar Beets due to public concerns over genetically-modified products. (On-Line, Tom Meersman Star Tribune, 27 December 2015) [Comment by Author: If you study the process through which sucrose is extracted and purified from Sugar Beets, you might have other, more sincere concerns.]
2016 LIFE: A … contemporary perspective suggests… that life proceeded from a cellular “mush” ( a primoridal “Planetary holobiont”) in which cells promiscuously exchanged much more than mere genes this primordial “golden age” was followed by differentiation of the three domains known today. Archaea and Bacteria evolved toward a prokaryote-like lifestyle of “multispecies” consortia that were metabolically specializedyet interconnected via universal protocols of extensive horizontal gene transfer and pheromone signalization. The third domain, Eukarya, arose as a result of the multiple merger capacity of early cells. As a result, the mitochondrion [sic] is today’s only easily recognizable evidence of … early blending…” (Švorcivá, Jana, Anton Markoš, and Orabab Das, in Sahi, Vaidurya Pratap and František Baluška ed, 2016)TRANSLATION:
2017 Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces and collaborators reported (inAgroecology and Sustainable Food Systems) that: “90.4 percent of the tortillas studied contained recombinant sequences of transgenic maize (corn).” (Gaceta Digital de UNAM, 6 November 2017)
2018 František Baluška and Sherrie Lyons propose updating Virchow’s dictum “Omnis cellula e cellula” to “Omnis Energide e Energide” (“Energide-cell body as smallest unit of eukaryotic life”. Ann Bot. 2018 Feb 21. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcy022. Epub ahead of print, Excerpt From: Vaidurya Pratap Sahi and František Baluška. “Concepts in Cell Biology – History and Evolution.” )
“History celebrates the battlefields whereon we meet our death, but scorns to speak of the plowed fields whereby we thrive. It knows the names of the kings’ bastards but cannot tell us the origin of wheat. This is the way of human folly.”
J. H. Fabre
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