GMOs are organisms that have had their characteristics changed through the modification of their DNA.
A stem cell is a cell with the unique ability to develop into specialised cell types in the body. In the future they may be used to replace cells and tissues that have been damaged or lost due to disease.
Selective breeding involves selecting parents that have characteristics of interest in the hope that their offspring inherit those desirable characteristics.
Genome editing is a way of making specific changes to the DNA of a cell or organism. An enzyme cuts the DNA at a specific sequence, and when this is repaired by the cell a change or ‘edit’ is made to the sequence.
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Like a recipe book it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies.
The DNA code contains instructions needed to make the proteins and molecules essential for our growth, development and health.
While the fruit fly has a long history as a model organism, the nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) has only been used as a model organism since the early 1960s.
Since the 1960s, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become increasingly important to scientific research. It has many characteristics that make it a valuable model for studying human genetics and disease.
DNA sequencing is the process of determining the order of bases in a length of DNA. Its development has helped to dramatically advance our understanding of genetics.
The National DNA Database (NDNAD) holds the DNA profiles and samples from a select number of UK individuals.
A clinical trial is a research investigation when a new treatment is first given to humans, with or without a disease, to establish if the drug is safe and effective at treating the disease.
During the Human Genome Project, researchers had to find a way to reduce the entire human genome into chunks, as it was too large to be sequenced in one go. To do this they created a store of DNA fragments called a BAC library.
Pharmacogenomics is the tailoring of drug treatments to people’s genetic makeup, a form of ‘personalised medicine’.
The ‘Central Dogma’ is the process by which the instructions in DNA are converted into a functional product. It was first proposed in 1958 by Francis Crick, discoverer of the structure of DNA.
DNA replication is the process by which DNA makes a copy of itself during cell division.
Chromosomes are bundles of tightly coiled DNA located within the nucleus of almost every cell in our body. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Genetic variation is a term used to describe the variation in the DNA sequence in each of our genomes. Genetic variation is what makes us all unique, whether in terms of hair colour, skin colour or even the shape of our faces.
Gene expression is the process by which the instructions in our DNA are converted into a functional product, such as a protein.
A mutation is a change that occurs in our DNA sequence, either due to mistakes when the DNA is copied or as the result of environmental factors such as UV light and cigarette smoke.
There are lots of different mutations that can occur in our DNA.
Genome sequencing can mean sequencing an organism's entire genome or just focusing on sequencing very specific areas of DNA.
In 2005, 454 Life Sciences launched the first next-generation DNA sequencer – a big leap forward in DNA sequencing technology.
Illumina sequencing has been used to sequence many genomes and has enabled the comparison of DNA sequences to improve understanding of health and disease.
The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is one of the most well understood of all the model organisms.
Much of our current knowledge about the mechanisms of early development in vertebrates comes from studies using the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) and Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis).
Producing a new drug is an expensive and time-consuming process that is subject to extensive regulation.
The Human Genome Project, which began officially in 1990, was the largest international collaboration ever undertaken in biology and involved thousands of scientists.
Fragile X is a common inherited syndrome that causes intellectual disability. It affects one in every 2,000 males and one in every 6,000-8,000 females.
Single gene disorders are caused by DNA changes in one particular gene, and often have predictable inheritance patterns.
A genetic disorder is a disease that is caused by a change, or mutation, in an individual’s DNA sequence.
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