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Translation glossary: Genetics Glossary

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Adenine (A)A base; one of the molecular components of D NA and RNA. Bonds with thymine (A-T) in DNA, and with uracil (A-U) in RNA. 
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AllelesAlternative forms of a genetic characteristic. 
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Amino acidsSmall molecules that form the building blocks of proteins. 
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AutosomeAll chro mosomes except those involved in sex determination. 
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BacteriaTiny one-celled organisms. 
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Base pairTwo of the building blocks of DNA held together by weak bonds. In a DNA molecule, adenine always bonds with thymine (A-T), and cytosine always bond s 
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Base sequenceThe order of bases in a DNA molecule. 
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Base sequence analysisA method, sometimes automated, for determining the sequence of bases in a strand of DNA. 
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BasesThe molecular building blocks of DNA and RNA 
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BiotechnologyThe use of biologic al processes to manufacture products. 
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CellsThe basic units of life. All living organisms are a collection of cells. Chromosomes 
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CloneA group of genetically identical cells or o rganisms that are descended from one parent. Identical twins are clones, as are colonies of bacteria that 
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CloningThe process of asexually producing a group of cells (clones), all genetically identical, from a single ancestor. 
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Complementary sequenceA sequence of bases that can form a double-stranded structure by matching base pairs. The complementary sequence to G-T-A-C, for instance, is C-A-T-G 
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DiploidHaving a full set of genetic material consisting of paired chromosomes that contain one chromosome from each parent. 
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DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)The long, spiralling m olecule that rchestrates the cell\'s daily operations and provides the genetic blueprint for the physical characteristics of a 
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DNA fingerprintingA process which uses fragments of DNA to identify the unique genetic makeup of an individual. 
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DNA replicationThe use of existing DNA as a template for the synthesis of new DNA strands. 
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DNA sequenceThe relative order of base pairs in any sample of DNA. See base sequence analysis. 
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DNA sequencingDetermining the order of bases in a segment of DNA. 
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Domi nant geneA gene which, when present on a chromosome, passes on a certain physical characteristic, thereby dominating over a recessive gene present on another 
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ElectrophoresisA method of separating large molecules-such as DNA fragments or proteins-from a mixture of similar molecules. 
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EnzymeA protein that acts as a catalyst, speeding the rate at which a biochemi cal reaction proceeds but not altering the direction or nature of the reacti 
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FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization)A mapping technique that uses fluorescent tags to identify specific locations of chromosomes. 
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GelA dense net work of fine particles dispersed with water (Jell-O is a gel). Used to separate different-sized strands of DNA. 
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GeneThe fundamental unit of heredity. 
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Gene expressionThe process by which genes express themselves 
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Gene familiesGroups of closely related genes that make similar products. 
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Gene mappingDetermining the relative positions of genes on a DNA molecule. 
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Gene productThe biochemical material, either RNA or protein, resulting from expression of a gene. 
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Gene therapya newly evolving technique used to treat inherited genetic diseases. The medical procedure involves substituting the defective gene in the cells of a 
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Genetic engineeringThe technology used to genetically manipulate living cells to produce new chemicals or perform new functions. 
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Genetic testing (o r genetic screening)A technique used to determine whether a person or organism has a certain gene. 
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GeneticsThe study of the patterns of inheritance of specific traits. 
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GenomeAll the genetic material in the chromosomes of a particular organism. The human genome consists of three billion bases, organized in about 100,000 ge 
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GenotypeThe entire genetic identity of an individual, including alleles, or gene forms, that do not show as outward c haracteristics. 
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Guanine (G)A base; one of the molecular components of DNA and RNA. Always bonds with cytosine (G-C). 
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HaploidA single set of chromosomes (half the full set of genetic material), present in the egg and sperm cells o f animals and in the egg and pollen cells o 
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HomologiesSimilarities in DNA or protein sequences between individuals of the same species or among different specie s. 
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Human Genome Project (HGP)a worldwide project aimed at deciphering all the three billion bases of the human genome, including mapping and sequencing every gene. This informati 
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In vitroOutside a living organism. 
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In vivoInside a living organism. 
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KaryotypeA photomicrograph of an individual\'s chromosomes arranged in a standard format showing the number, size, and shape of each chromo some type. 
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MappingSee gene mapping, physical map. 
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MarkerAn identifiable physical location on a chromosome (e.g., restriction enzyme cutting site, gene) whose inheritance can be monitored. 
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MeiosisThe production of se x cells, which are not genetically identical, through a series of cell divisions. Compare to mitosis. 
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Messenger RNA (mRNA)A single-stranded molecule of ribonucleic acid that directs protein production. 
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MitosisThe production of c ells that are genetically identical to the original cell. Compare to meiosis. 
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mRNASee messenger RNA. 
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MutationA spontaneous or induced change in the DNA of a cell. 
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