1973 Cohen and Boyer perform the first successful recombinant DNA experiment, using bacterial genes.

1986 First field tests of genetically engineered plants (tobacco) are conducted.

1987 Advanced Genetic Sciences’ Frostban, a genetically altered bacterium that inhibits frost formation is field-tested on strawberry and potato plants in California—the first authorized outdoor tests of an engineered bacterium.

1993 The FDA declares GMO foods are “not inherently dangerous” and do not require special regulation.

1994 Calgene’s Flavr Savr tomato, engineered to resist rotting, is approved for sale.

1995 GMO soy and corn planted in the United States.

1996 GMO foods first hit supermarket shelves.

1996 Seven percent of soy and 1.5 percent of corn crops grown in the United States are genetically modified.

1999 The rising tide of public opinion in Europe brings biotech food into the spotlight.

2000 GMO corn StarLink, approved solely for animal feed, ends up in corn products for human consumption.

2002 ProdiGene violates the U.S. Plant Protection Act by allowing experimental biopharmaceutical corn to mix with a commercial soy crop.

2004 GMO wheat developer Monsanto decides against selling GMO wheat because of negative public perception.

2004 Eighty-five percent of soy and 45 percent of corn crops grown in the United States are genetically modified.

Source: North Carolina Biotechnology Center (www.ncbiotech.org).