A type of acquired immunity whereby resistance to a disease is built up by either having the disease or receiving a vaccine to it.
Insoluble material that increases the formation and persistence of antibodies when injected with an antigen.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration together with declining activities of daily living and neuropsychiatric symptoms or behavioral changes. It is the most common cause of dementia.
Building blocks of proteins. There are 20 common amino acids used to construct proteins.
The process of increasing the number of copies of a particular gene or chromosomal sequence
An antibody which has the ability to attach itself onto the membrane of certain cells, a property which gives these cells a specific activity against an antigen.
Triplet of nucleotide bases (codon) in transfer RNA that pairs with (is complementary to) a triplet in messenger RNA.
Any of a large group of microscopic organisms with a very simple cell structure. Some manufacture their own food, some live as parasites on other organisms and some live on decaying matter.
On the DNA molecule, one of the four chemical units that, according to their order and pairing , represent the different amino acids. The four bases are: adenine (A), cytosine ( C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). In RNA, uracil (U) substitutes for thymine.
Two nucleotide bases on different strands of the nucleic acid molecule that bond together. The bases can pair in only one way: adenine with thymine (DNA) or uracil (RNA) and guanine with cytosine.
A science that uses advanced computing techniques for management and analysis of biological data. Bioinformatics is particularly important as an adjunct to genomic research, which generates a large amount of complex data, involving DNA sequences and hundreds of thousands of genes.
A gene whose function or location suggests that it may be responsible for a disease or trait in a population of individuals.
An agent (such as an enzyme or a metallic complex) that facilitates a reaction but is not itself changed during the reaction.
The smallest structural unit of living organisms that is able to grow and reproduce independently.
A uniform pool of cells, distributed into vials and preserved, typically by freezing in liquid nitrogen. A viral is thawed to start each new production cycle.
Acquired immunity in which T lymphocytes play a predominant role. Development of the thymus in early life is critical to the proper development and functioning of cell-mediated immunity.
The individual (animal or lower organism) produced by grafting an embryonic part of one species onto an embryo of either the same or a different specie.
Threadlike components in the cell that contain DNA and proteins. Genes are carried on the chromosomes.
A term that is applied to genes, cells or entire organisms that are derived from -and are genetically identical to – a single common ancestor gene, cell or organism, respectively.
A sequence of three nucleotide bases that specifies an amino acid or represents a signal to stop or start a function.
DNA synthetised from a messenger RNA. This type of DNA is used for cloning or as a DNA probe for locating specific genes in DNA hybridisation studies.
A cell line which has acquired the characteristic of being “immortal”, i.e. capable of growing indefinitely in culture.
As a noun, cultivation of living organisms in prepared medium; as a verb, to grow in prepared medium.
The molecule that carries the genetic information for most living systems. The DNA molecule consists of four bases and a sugar-phosphate backbone, arranged in two connected strands to form a double helix.
A laboratory technique that compares the body of expressed (switched on) genes in different cells under different conditions by measuring the mRNA in a diseased liver cell with that in a healthy liver cell.
The process of biochemical and structural changes by which cells become specialised in form and function.
Term used to describe the early stages of foetal growth, from conception to the eight week of pregnancy.
A protein catalyst that facilitates specific chemical or metabolic reactions necessary for cell growth and reproduction.
A bacterium that inhabits the intestinal tract of most vertebrates. Much of the work using recombinant DNA techniques has been carried out with this organism because it has been genetically well characterised.
A cell or organism containing a true nucleus, with a well-defined membrane surrounding the nucleus. All organisms except bacteria, viruses and blue-green algae are eukaryotic.
In eukaryotic cells, that part of the gene that is transcribed into messenger RNA and encodes a protein.
Gene expression, the process of transferring the information encoded in the gene to a functional product e.g. a protein.
A segment of chromosomes. Some genes direct the syntheses of proteins, while others have regulatory functions.
The replacement of a defective gene in an organism suffering from a genetic disease. Recombinant DNA techniques are used to isolate the functioning gene and insert it into cells. Over 300 single-gene genetic disorders have been identified in humans. A significant percentage of these may be amenable to gene therapy.
A technology used to alter the genetic material of living modification cells in order to make them capable of producing new substances or performing new functions.
The mechanism by which genetic information is stored in living organisms. The code uses sets of three nucleotide bases (codons) to make the amino acids that, in turn, constitute proteins.
The use of a specific biological test to screen for inherited diseases or medical conditions. Testing can be conducted prenatally to check for metabolic defects and congenital disorders in the developing foetus as well as postnatally to screen for carriers of heritable diseases.
The analysis of an individual’s genetic material. Genetic testing can be used to gather information on an individual’s genetic predisposition to a particular health condition, or to confirm a diagnosis in genetic disease.
The study of traits passed on from parent to child and variation of those traits within and between individuals.
The total hereditary material of a cell, comprising the entire chromosomal set found in each nucleus of a given species.
The type of gene or genetic marker an individual has at a specific location in his or her genome. A genotype consists of 2 alleles since chromosomes come in pairs. However, a genotype on either of the male sex chromosomes (X or Y) consists of a single allele.
One of three types of white blood cells. Granulocytes digest bacteria and other parasites.
A cell with half the usual number of chromosomes, or only one chromosome set. Sex cells are haploid.
The portion of an antigen that determines its immunological specificity. When coupled to a large protein, a hapten stimulates the formation of antibodies to the two-molecules complex. Also called antigenic determinant.
An antigen that causes the rejection of grafted material from an animal different in genotype from the host animal
A chemical or protein that acts as a messenger or stimulatory signal, relaying instructions to stop or start certain physiological activities. Hormones are synthesised in one type of cell and then released to direct the function of other cell types.
A cell or organism used for growth of a virus, plasmid or other form of foreign DNA, or for the production of cloned substances.
Combination of DNA-receiving cells (host) and DNA-transporting substance (vector) used for introducing foreign DNA into a cell.
Production of offspring, or hybrids, from genetically dissimilar parents. The term is also used to refer to the binding of complementary strands of DNA or RNA.
The cell produced by fusing two cells of different origin. In monoclonal antibody technology, hybridomas are formed by fusing an immortal cell (one that divides continuously) and an antibody-producing cell.
The aggregation of cells, biological substances (such as antibodies) and cellular activities that work together to provide resistance to disease.
General name for proteins that function as antibodies. These proteins differ somewhat in structure and are grouped into five categories on the basis of these differences.
A class of lymphokine proteins important in the immune response. There are 3 major types of interferon: alpha, beta, gamma. Interferons inhibit viral infections and may have anticancer properties.
A type of lymphokine that regulates the growth and development of white blood cells. 12 interleukins have been identified to date.
In eukaryotic cells, a sequence of DNA that is contained in the gene but does not encode for protein. The presence of introns “splits” the coding region of the gene into segments called exons.
A colourless cell in the blood, lymph and tissues that is an important component of the body’s immune system.
An enzyme used to join DNA or RNA segments together. They are called DNA ligase or RNA ligase, respectively.
A type of leukocyte found in lymphoblastic tissue in the blood, lymph nodes and organs. Lymphocytes are continuously made in the bone marrow and mature into antibody-forming cells. Lymphocyte T : Their maturation is controlled by the thymus. They are thymus-dependent and can be “helper” or “killer”. They are the keepers of immunological memory. Lymphocyte B : Bone marrow-derived antibody producing immunoglobulin after maturation.
A class of soluble proteins produced by white blood cells that play a role, as yet not fully understood, in the immune response.
A type of white blood cell produced in blood vessels and loose connective tissues that can ingest dead tissues and cells and is involved in producing interleukin.
Process of cell reproduction whereby the daughter cells have half the chromosome number of the parent cells. Sex cells are formed by meiosis.
Nucleic acid that carries instructions to a ribosome for the synthesis of a particular protein.
Process of cell reproduction whereby the daughter cells are identical in chromosome number to the parent cells.
Highly specific, purified antibody that is derived from only one clone of cells and recognises only one antigen.
A type of leukocyte that attacks cancerous or virus-infected cells without previous exposure to the antigen. NK cell activity is stimulated by interferon.
Large molecules, generally found in the cell’s nucleus and/or cytoplasm, that are made up of nucleotide bases. The two kinds of nucleic acid are DNA and RNA.
The building blocks of nucleic acids. Each nucleotide is composed of sugar, phosphate and one of four bases. The sequence of the base within the nucleic acid determines what proteins are made.
A region of the chromosome, adjacent to the operon, where a repressor protein binds to prevent transcription of the operon.
Sequence of genes responsible for synthesising the enzymes needed for biosynthesis of a molecule. An operon is controlled by an operator gene and a repressor gene.
Osteoporosis is a disease of bone in which the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture is disrupted, and the amount and variety of non-collagenous proteins in bone is changed. Osteoporotic bones are more susceptible to fracture. Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as either a bone mineral density 2.5 standard deviations below peak bone mass (20-year-old person standard) as measured by DXA, or any fragility fracture. While treatment modalities are becoming available, prevention is still the most important way to reduce fracture. Due to its hormonal component, more women, particularly after menopause, suffer from osteoporosis than men.
Parkinson’s disease (also known as Parkinson disease or PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects the control of muscles, and so may affect movement, speech and posture. Parkinson’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. It is often characterized by muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia), and in extreme cases, a loss of physical movement (akinesia). The primary symptoms are the results of excessive muscle contraction, normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic neurons of the brain. Secondary symptoms may include high level cognitive dysfunction and subtle language problems. PD is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive.
A type of white blood cell that can ingest invading microorganisms and other foreign material.
In its broader sense, it can be defined as the study of the genome and its products (including RNA and protein) as they relate to drug discovery and development.
Observable characteristics resulting from interaction between an organism’s genetic makeup and the environment.
A small circular form of DNA that carries certain genes and is capable of replicating independently in a host cell.
Lymphoid cell which synthesised and secretes immunoglobulins. They are deriving from the maturation of Lymphocytes B.
A method for repeatedly duplicating trace amounts of DNA in order to provide detectable quantities for analysis. PCR is frequently used for DNA fingerprinting (DNA profiling).
The existence of two or more variants (alleles, phenotypes, DNA sequence variants, chromosomal structure variants) at significant frequencies in the population.
A DNA sequence that is located in front of a gene and controls gene expression. Promoters are required for binding RNA polymerase to initiate transcription.
Phage nucleic acid that is incorporated into the host’s chromosome but does not cause cell lysis.
A molecule composed of amino acids. There are many types of proteins, all carrying out a number of different function essential for cell growth.
The DNA formed by combining segments of DNA from different types of organisms.
A virus that contains the enzyme reverse transcriptase. This enzyme converts the viral RNA into DNA, which can combine with the DNA of the host cell and produce more viral particles.
Decoding a strand of DNA or gene into the specific order of its nucleotides. This analysis can be done manually or with automated equipment.
An SNP is a single base variation that occurs about every 1000 bases along 3 billion base pairs of the human genome.
Involves the insertion of genes into somatic cells for therapeutic purposes.
Transfer of genetic material from one cell to another by means of a virus or phage vector.
Infection of a cell with nucleic acid from a virus, resulting in replication of the complete virus.
RNA molecules that carry amino acids to sites on ribosomes where proteins are synthesised.
An organism formed by the insertion of foreign genetic material into the germ line cells of organisms. Recombinant DNA techniques are commonly used to produce transgenic organisms.
Process by which the information on a mRNA molecule is used to direct the synthesis of a protein.
A segment of DNA that can move around and be inserted at several sites in bacterial DNA or in a phage, thus alerting the host’s DNA.