GLOSSARY OF TERMS

A - C

D - G

H - K

L - P

Q - Z

Lymphokines

A large group of protein-based molecules produced by white blood cells (or lymphocytes) and used for intercellular communication during an immune response.

Meiosis

A form of cellular reproduction that reduces the genome by half in each of the daughter cells (the genome is not duplicated as in mitosis). This form of cellular reproduction is essential to ensure a single genomic equivalent after the merging of sex cells during sexual reproduction.

Method patent

A form of patent issued on the invention of a novel method or process as opposed to a novel object or material. This form of patent has been especially useful for those wishing to patent genes since such claims are based on the position that the method of identifying and isolating a gene is what makes the gene patentable (see Patent).

Mitosis

A form of cellular reproduction where the cells duplicate their genomes, dividing a full genomic equivalent to each of the daughter cells.

Modeling and simulation

A technique frequently used in the physical, chemical, and biological sciences that uses material representations, patterns, or processes to help understand the structure, function, and dynamics of the natural world.

Model organism

An organism that is extensively studied by biomedical researchers under the expectation that the processes discovered in this organism would be broadly applicable for understanding the processes of many other organisms. These organisms are often highly manipulated for studying specific biological dynamics. Many are so highly specialized that they could no longer survive outside of the protected environment of the laboratory. In medicine, they are especially useful for allowing research where human experimentation would be unfeasible or unethical.

Orphan disease

A disease that attracts limited amounts of federal research funding. These diseases often occur only rarely in a population or, when they do occur, they present with relatively mild symptoms.

Patent

A set of exclusive rights issued to prevent or exclude others from making or selling inventions. In order to be issued, a patent must be novel, useful, and non-obvious.

Pipette

A common laboratory instrument used to measure and transport liquid.

Protozoa

A single cell organism that possesses a nucleus, is mobile, and can feed on organic materials (as opposed to inorganic materials such as carbon dioxide or oxygen). Although too small to be seen by the naked eye, they can be easily located by using a microscope.

Pupa

A stage in the life of some insects during which they undergo the change from a childhood form (larva) to an adult form (imago). Most pupae are protected by a hard camouflaged covering.

PXE or Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum

A rare inherited disease of the connective tissues where the tissue loses its elasticity through the deposit of minerals. The disease often first presents as a change in the tone and texture of the skin (often appearing like a rash) or as a change in visual perception, such as visual distortion or, in advanced cases, loss of vision.