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Monsanto: The Chronology of a Biotech Company

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.


1901 • John F. Queeny founds the original Monsanto, and the company's first product is saccharine.

1945 • Monsanto produces and markets agricultural chemicals, including 2,4D.

1964 • Monsanto's Ramrod herbicide is introduced.

1976 • Roundup herbicide is commercialized in the U.S.

1981 • Monsanto establishes a molecular biology group, and biotechnology is established as the company's research focus.

1982 • Monsanto scientists are the first to genetically modify a plant cell. • Monsanto acquires the soybean seed company Jacob Hartz Seed.

1987 • Monsanto conducts the first U.S. field trials of plants with genetically engineered traits.

1994 • Monsanto's Posilac bovine somatotropin for dairy cows is the company's first biotechnology product to win regulatory approval for commercial distribution.

1996 • Monsanto acquires the plant biotechnology assets of two biotech research companies. • Roundup Ready Soybeans are introduced. • Bollgard insect-protected cotton is introduced.

1997 • Asgrow agronomics seed business, Holden's Fountain Seeds and Corn States Hybrid Service are all purchased by Monsanto. • Monsanto spins off its industrial chemical and fibers business as Solutia Inc. • Roundup Ready canola and cotton are introduced.

1998 • Monsanto buys DeKalb Genetics Corp. • Roundup Ready Corn, genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup, is introduced to the commercial market. • Monsanto becomes the first company to introduce a stacked trait combination in corn when it introduces corn borer insect-protected trait stacked with Roundup Ready Corn.