, 46:463 | Cite as

Directed Evolution: A Historical Exploration into an Evolutionary Experimental System of Nanobiotechnology, 1965–2006

  • Eun-Sung KimEmail author


This study explores the history of nanotechnology from the perspective of protein engineering, which differs from the history of nanotechnology that has arisen from mechanical and materials engineering; it also demonstrates points of convergence between the two. Focusing on directed evolution—an experimental system of molecular biomimetics that mimics nature as an inspiration for material design—this study follows the emergence of an evolutionary experimental system from the 1960s to the present, by detailing the material culture, practices, and techniques involved. Directed evolution, as an aspect of nanobiotechnology, is also distinct from the dominant biotechnologies of the 20th century. The experimental systems of directed evolution produce new ways of thinking about molecular diversity that could affect concepts concerning both biology and life.


Directed evolution RNA world Scanning probe microscopy Molecular biomimetics Nanotechnology Molecular diversity 



This study is largely indebted to Linda Hogle’s thoughtful advice. I also would like to thank Alan Porter and Alex Stephens for their bibliometric analysis, as well as Erich Schienke, Doogab Yi, Byoungyoon Kim, and Cyrus Mody for their careful and critical comments. I conducted this research at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society-Arizona State University, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This study is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation, under grant #0531194. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this study are those of the author, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Biotechnology Policy Research CenterDaejeonSouth Korea

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