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A gene that causes a change in the phenotype of an organism only when that gene is homozygous, or existing in two identical copies (see Dominant).

Recombinant DNA

DNA from at least two different biological sources or organisms that is combined to form a novel sequence of DNA. The term is generally reserved for DNA sequences that have been constructed using direct human intervention.

Red Queen

A fictional character in the movie Resident Evil that is actually a computer program designed to monitor the main research laboratory of the Umbrella Corporation (see The Hive). The character’s holographic projection is modeled after the lead programmer’s daughter. The term echoes Lewis Carroll’s popular Alice Through the Looking Glass, as well as Leigh Van Valen’s more recent “Red Queen Hypothesis,” which seeks to explain the evolutionary benefit for genes of sexual (vs. asexual) reproduction.

RNA or Ribonucleic Acid

A polymer of nucleotides used in various stages of translating a specific nucleotide sequence into specific amino acid sequences on a protein. The molecule almost always exists in a single-stranded form, as opposed to the double stranded form of DNA. Also, some viruses store the genetic code for synthesizing the virus as RNA and not the standard DNA. These viruses must first translate the RNA genome into DNA before it can be transcribed and translated by the host cell. The enzyme that translates the RNA into DNA, known as Reverse Transcriptase, is often used for recombinant DNA technology (see, cDNA and Recombinant DNA).

Technology transfer

The process of developing financially promising practical applications from basic research. Most research institutions, such as public universities, now possess an office dedicated to studying the financial potential of new inventions and knowledge.

Transgenic creatures or organisms

An organism that contains a specific gene inserted into its genome from a different biological source or organism.

T-virus or Tyrant Virus

A virus engineered as a weapon for bio-warfare by the Umbrella Corporation in the fictional movie and game series, Resident Evil. Once a virus makes contact with a human host, it eliminates important cellular structures giving its host the appearance of rotting flesh. A T-virus infection may also lead to the deterioration of the frontal lobe of the brain, giving the host the behaviors of a “zombie” or the walking dead (see Recombinant DNA).


A popular science fiction trilogy created by African American writer, Octavia Butler. The word is coined from the Greek words “xeno” meaning stranger and “genesis” meaning to be born or produced.