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The Gigantic Genetic Glossary

Advancements in the field of medicine are significantly enhancing the work done in genetics and biological research. With every new medical breakthrough, scientists are able to further their understanding of genetics and how organisms relate to one another. Genetics research has come to play a significant role in life today. It is seen in the vaccines received during childhood and adulthood, the types of pets people own, the food they eat, and the medicines they take for illnesses.

Adenine – A purine base found in both DNA and RNA.

Alleles – Alternative genes for a trait that are found at the same spot on two different chromosomes.

Amino acid – An organic compound that makes up the basic building blocks of peptides and proteins.

Bacteriophage – A virus whose host is a bacterial cell.

Base pair – Two nucleotides found on separate DNA strands that are connected by way of hydrogen bonds.

Chromosomes – Structures found within the nucleus of a cell that contain the genetic material.

Clones – Genetically identical cells or individuals.

Diploid – The name applied to a cell having two chromosome sets or to an individual that has two chromosome sets in each cell.

DNA – Deoxyribose nucleic acid, the genetic material that is responsible for the replication of life.

Electrophoresis – A procedure used to separate charged particles by way of an electric field and a stationary liquid.

Enzyme – An organic molecule that is used to speed up the rate of a chemical reaction.

Gamete – A sex cell, such as the egg or sperm.

Gene – The part of the DNA molecule that holds the code for a specific piece of genetic information.

Homologies – Similar characteristics seen in organisms that are due to the organisms being related.

Hybridization – The process of breeding plants and animals from differing stocks.

Interphase – A phase of the cell cycle that occurs between succeeding mitosis phases. During interphase, DNA is replicated and energy is stored for upcoming nuclear division.

In vitro – Term applied to studies of living material that are performed outside of the organism from which the material came.

Karyotype – A diagram that is used to show the arrangement of the human chromosomes.

Metaphase – A stage in mitosis or meiosis where the chromosomes move about the spindle and eventually arrange themselves in the equatorial region.

Mitosis – Cell division that results in two daughter cells that are identical to the parent cell.

Mutation – A change in the DNA sequence.

Nucleotide – A subunit of nucleic acids that consist of a nitrogen base along with a phosphate group and a 5-carbon sugar.

Nucleus – The cell organelle that controls all of the activities of the cell.

Oncogene – A gene that is able to make eukaryotic cells grow in an unregulated way.

Phage – Another term for a bacteriophage, a type of virus that infects bacterial cells.

Plasmid – A small DNA molecule that is found in bacteria and other cells and that is able to replicate itself.

Prokaryote – A single-celled organism where the cell lacks a true nucleus.

Protein – A macromolecule made up of long chains of amino acids. They are important to the structure and function of living things.

Recombination – The assortment of chromosomes into new sets.

Ribosomes – The organelle in the cell where protein synthesis occurs.

Telomere – The segments found at the end of each chromosome. They regulate chromosome replication during cell division.

Thymine – A pyrimidine base found in DNA.

Vector – A virus, plasmid, or other organism that can carry DNA information into a host cell.

Virus – A chemical of DNA or RNA that is surrounded by protein and is able to reproduce within a living cell.

For more information:

PLOS Genetics: A peer-reviewed journal by the Public Library of Science

Understanding Genetics from Stanford School of Medicine

Genetics Society of America

Council for Responsible Genetics

Genetics Education Center: Resources for the Study of Genetics

Learn Genetics: Genetic Science Learning Center from the University of Utah

Basic Principles of Genetics: An Introduction to Mendelian Genetics

Introduction To Genetics

Genetics Practice Problems from UC – Clermont

A Glossary of Genetics

Mendelian Genetics

Feline Genetics

Human Genetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Human Genetics Problem Set From the University of Arizona

Practice Genetics Problems From Kansas State University

Online Education Kit: Understanding the Human Genome Project

Human Genome Project Information: Links to the Genetic World

The Human Gene Map: Featured Genes

Genetics Home Reference: Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions

Your Genes, Your Health: A Multimedia Guide to Genetic Disorders

DNA Interactive

Understanding Genetics: A Workbook to Help Individuals Learn More About Genetics

About Kids Health: Understanding Genetics

Understanding Genetics: A Guide for Patients and Health Professionals

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