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A level of DNA packaging present within chromosome. Nucleosomes are formed from a single length of DNA wrapped around a series of proteins called histones.
A structure at the centre of all eukaryotic cells that contains the genome and acts as the ‘control room’ for the cell.
An abnormally high accumulation of body fat which can have a negative effect on health.
A gene that normally directs cell growth. If mutated, an oncogene acts like a car accelerator stuck on drive, leading to uncontrolled cell growth, and cancer.
The practice of providing unrestricted and free access to the results of research, often via the internet.
A collection of cells and tissues that perform a specific function in the body.
A functional structure found within eukaryotic cells. Organelles carry out functions such as making proteins, processing chemicals and generating energy for the cell.
Reproductive gland in which the female reproductive cells, eggs, are produced.
A gland located behind the stomach that secretes enzymes into the intestine to aid digestion. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin that regulates the absorption of sugar by cells.
An organism that lives in or on another organism and benefits at the expense of their host. Malaria is a type of parasite.
A neurodegenerative condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively more damaged. Primarily affects movement leading to tremors and muscle stiffness.
An infectious agent that causes disease or illness to its host. Usually a bacteria, virus or parasite.
The evaluation of a piece of research by one or more people in the same field and of similar competence to the producers of the work.
An area of genomics focusing specifically on the sequencing and analysis of one person’s genome.
A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A pH of 7 means the solution is neutral, below 7 is acidic, above 7 is alkaline.
Tailoring a drug treatments to match a person’s genetic makeup – a form of ‘personalised medicine’.
The physical traits and characteristics of an organism resulting from their genetic makeup.
The normal, healthy functioning of an organism’s body and organs.
A treatment that visibly resembles the experimental drug but has no effect on the individual. Used in clinical trials to provide a control test.
A temporary organ that develops in the uterus/womb of female mammals during pregnancy. It nourishes and maintains the unborn baby via the umbilical cord and is pushed out of the mother after birth.
A small circle of genetic material, typically DNA in bacterial cells, physically separated from chromosomal DNA that replicates independently. Plasmids are used as vectors to transfer genes between cells.
A component of blood that is important in the clotting process. If a blood vessel is injured platelets change shape and stick together to form a blood clot.
A cell capable of developing into any type of cell or tissue in the body.
An infection of the lungs that causes the air sacs to fill with pus and other fluids. This makes it difficult for oxygen to be absorbed into the blood. It is commonly caused by viral or bacterial infections.
A technique to make large quantities of a specific fragment of DNA. It is often used in DNA testing and fingerprinting to amplify small amounts of DNA so that scientists have enough to work with.
A single chain of amino acids held together by peptide bonds. Proteins are made up of one or more polypeptide molecules.
A test for a genetic condition that is carried out on embryos created through IVF before they are implanted into the woman. It enables people with a family history of a genetic condition to ensure that only embryos without the genetic condition are used and that the risk of their child being unhealthy is reduced.
Genetic tests designed to detect specific mutated genes to determine the likelihood of an individual developing a particular disease.
Genetic tests carried out in the first, second and third trimesters to help determine whether a foetus has a disease or genetic abnormality, such as Down’s syndrome.
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