Glossary

This glossary was developed to help you understand the terms used in the field of biotechnology. It has definitions of terms used throughout the biotechnology topic Web pages. A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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2D PAGE Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The most common technique for protein separation. Proteins are separated in one dimension according to their size, and in the second dimension, according to their charge (that is, their isolectric point). After separation, the gel is stained so that protein spots can be seen. 22q deletion syndrome A syndrome associated with a small deletion (missing section of DNA) on chromosome 22. Act A law made by Parliament or a provincial legislature. The process of making an Act of Parliament begins with the introduction of a proposed Act, or bill, in one of the two houses of Parliament (the Senate or the House of Commons). A bill becomes an Act if it is passed (approved) by both houses and receives royal assent. Allele A form of a gene. We inherit one allele of a gene from our mother and the other allele from our father. These two alleles can be the same (homozygous) or they can be different (heterozygous). Allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization The use of an oligonucleotide probe to determine which of the two alternative nucleotide sequences is contained in a DNA molecule.

The procedure can be done after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Aneuploid A cell where the total number of chromosomes is not an exact multiple of 23. which results from the joining of the egg and sperm. it will start an immune response to rid the body of the antigen. Top of Page B Bacillus thuringensis (bt) A naturally occurring soil bacterium that makes an endotoxin that is toxic to larvae of the European corn borer (Lepidoptera). Examples include in vitro fertilization. When an antibody detects this antigen in the body. Autosome A chromosome that is not a sex chromosome (X or Y). The messenger RNA tells the cell what amino acids are needed and what order they must be arranged in to build a particular protein. Antibiotic A natural or synthetic chemical that is used to kill bacteria in order to treat diseases in humans and animals. Assisted human reproduction (AHR) Any activity undertaken for the purpose of facilitating human reproduction. A flexible needle is inserted into the mother's uterus through the abdomen to remove a sample of the fluid surrounding the fetus (amniotic fluid). chromosomes 1 through 22. There are 20 different amino acids used in the human body. The diploid number is 46.Amino acid The building block of proteins. Antigen A foreign substance that binds to an antibody and starts an immune response in the body. The gene for this endotoxin has been incorporated into corn to produce a genetically modified corn plant that can defend itself against the . The triploid state of 69 chromosomes rarely occurs and is not compatible with life. This sample can then be analysed by karyotype to look for changes in the chromosomes. There is a 0. Antibiotic resistance The ability of bacteria to tolerate an antibiotic and survive being exposed to it. which is found in the egg and sperm cells.5% risk of miscarriage associated with this procedure. The most common aneuploid numbers are 45 (one chromosome is missing) and 47 (one chromosome is added). Bacteria may develop this resistance naturally after being exposed to it over many years. Amniocentesis A procedure used in prenatal diagnosis to look at the chromosomes of the developing fetus. which means one in 200 women will miscarry following this procedure. Assay A method for determining the presence or quantity of a component. Autosomal recessive Describes a type of inheritance where an individual must inherit a mutation in both copies of a gene in order to develop the associated trait or disorder. The haploid number of chromosomes is 23. Autosomal dominant Describes a type of inheritance where an individual with a mutation in only one copy of a gene will develop the associated trait or disorder. 7 Antibody A protein made by the immune system that is specific to an antigen. donor insemination and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Bioremediation The use of organisms. and efficient use of data/information from genomics from biological research to accomplish an objective (for example. Bioassay A method of determining the effect of a compound by quantifying its effect on living organisms or their component parts. Also identifies linkages to wider sustainable development outcomes. forestry and other industries) and reducing fossil fuel use (product displacement). Bioengineering also includes biomedical engineering. . therapeutic serum. It is not toxic to people. sawdust. The potential danger. Biomedical ethics See Bioethics. to discover a new pharmaceutical or a new herbicide). Biomass Any organic matter. especially in biological research or experimentation. critical economic. they can reduce the use of conventional pesticides while maintaining crop yields. Bioenergy Energy choices using a wide range of biomass sources (for example. grass and leaf compost). but essentially they also fall under the regulatory definition of a biologic. or a condition that constitutes a threat to humans. forestry. Bioinformatics The generation/creation. including bacteria. Biopesticides A product made from natural sources such as bacteria. The endotoxin is very specific in that it only affects the corn borer larvae. agriculture. viruses and toxins. treatment or cure of diseases or injuries in humans. paper. or harm from exposure to such an agent or condition. wood chips. air or groundwater. Biosensor An electronic device that uses biological molecules to detect low levels of substances like proteins in the body or pollutants in water. industry and municipal waste) and conversion technologies such as fermentation (alcohol production) and co-firing (co-combustion of biomass and coal). domestic animals. Bioengineering Engineering applied to biological and medical systems. They can also work in low amounts. emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. such as biomechanics.European corn borer. or analogous product used in the prevention. They tend to have less of an impact on the environment and human health because they are less toxic than conventional pesticides and usually affect only one specific pest instead of being broad-range. environmental and security benefits (such as adding value to farm. but also poultry litter and animal residues and waste. Biopharmaceuticals This term is sometimes used for biologic drugs produced through rDNA technology. such as an infectious microorganism. collection. and industrial and municipal solid waste (for example. usually microorganisms. they break down quickly and when used properly. biomaterials and biosensors. in the environment and humans. waste streams. Biosensing Technology for the detection of a wide range of chemical and biological agents. to break down pollutants in soil. animals or plants that is used for pest control. as in the development of aids or replacements for defective or missing body organs. Biohazard A biological agent. antitoxin. fish or wildlife. particularly available on a renewable or recurring basis such as trees and plants (residues and fibers containing cellulose or lingo-cellulose). Bioethics (and biomedical ethics) A discipline that studies the ethical implications of biological applications. storage (in databases). risk. Biological products / Biologicals / Biologics Any virus. toxin.

Cell The smallest structural unit of living organisms that is able to grow and reproduce independently. These products are made from plasma like coagulation factors. viruses or toxins with the intent of causing harm to people. Research about what goes on within a cell can give us valuable information about drug targets and drug development. especially mental. but is at risk of having a child with the disease if their partner is also a carrier. Cancer cells can spread to other areas of the body and interrupt normal processes. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) A procedure used in prenatal diagnosis to look at the chromosomes of the developing fetus. Biotherapeutic strategy A plan or program to contribute to the cure of disease or to general. Blastocyst stage Four to five days after the union of the sperm and the egg. often developing a tumour. plasma Blood products Products derived from blood. The cell consists of a membrane that encloses the DNA-containing nucleus and the mitochondria. Blood The fluid that circulates in the heart. Carrier An individual who has a gene mutation for a recessive disease on one allele while the other allele is normally functioning. arteries. Cellomics A study that combines information from genomics and proteomics with the complex chemical and molecular relationships of cell components. before the embryo implants in the uterus. This individual most often does not develop symptoms of the disease. A mutation in the BRCA1/2 genes can be inherited or it can be acquired during our lifetime. Biotechnology has been in practice for centuries and includes such traditional applications as the use of yeast in making beer. the cell's energy source.Biotechnology A general term used to describe the use of biological processes to make products. Blood components At its subcomponent level. the protective proteins do not work as well and the individual is then at increased risk of developing cancer. capillaries and veins of a vertebrate animal carrying nourishment and oxygen to and taking away waste products from all parts of the body. religious or ideological goals through intimidation. Bioterrorism The use of bacteria. Every human being has these two genes. well-being. Top of Page C Cancer A disease where cells grow out of control. which make proteins that are responsible for preventing cancer from forming. When mutations happen in these genes. BRCA1/BRCA2 Two genes that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer when they have mutations. blood is comprised of such components as: blood cells. animals or food to achieve certain political. in contrast to purely chemical processes. which is part of the placenta and contains . platelets. as well as modern applications like recombinant DNA techniques to improve crops. Microarray technology is an important part of cellomics research. plasma proteins and albumin. A sample is removed from the chorion.

See also Human clone.cells from the fetus. Top of Page . cytosine and thymine) are arranged in different combinations to represent each gene. There are two recognized forms of cloning related to humans -.reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Chromosome A structure found in the cell nucleus that carries the genetic information in humans and animals. drug. It is a doublestranded helix held together by hydrogen bonds between pairs of nucleotides. usually a gene. Top of Page D Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) The molecule that carries the genetic information in most living organisms. The nucleotides in DNA (adenine. In the past. It is composed of a long strand of DNA that is greatly condensed for storage. When geneticists speak of cloning. Clone A genetically identical copy of an organism or of a specific piece of DNA for use in research. This sample can then be analyzed by karyotype to look for changes in the chromosomes. The genes act like recipes in that they contain the information necessary for the cell to make the corresponding proteins. The procedure can be done at 10 to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. They include faulty digestion. and excessive loss of salt in sweat. Complementary DNA (cDNA) DNA synthesized from a messenger RNA rather than from a DNA template. they do not usually mean the process of making genetically identical copies of an entire organism. function and abnormalities of human chromosomes. Drug Identification Number (DIN) A number issued to a drug indicating that it is authorized for sale in Canada. There is a 1% risk of miscarriage associated with this procedure. Cystic fibrosis A hereditary disease whose symptoms usually appear shortly after birth. Diagnostics / Diagnostic products A test. cystic fibrosis was almost always fatal in childhood. In humans. Cytogenetics The study of the structure. The intent of a clinical trial is for the sponsoring company or research institution to gather information on the safety and effectiveness of new drugs or therapies before seeking approval of a procedure or product for use by the Canadian public. Cloning is the process of making copies of a specific piece of DNA. This type of DNA is used for cloning or as a DNA probe for finding specific genes. Clinical trial Medical research undertaken with informed and consenting human subjects in a controlled environment. Dominant inheritance See Autosomal dominant. We inherit 23 chromosomes from our mother and 23 from our father. the total number of chromosomes in a diploid cell is 46. Cloning The process of creating a genetically identical copy (clone) of an animal or plant. guanine. medical device or kit used to diagnose a disease or medical condition. breathing difficulties and respiratory infections due to mucus accumulation. Humans have 46 chromosomes in every cell of their body except the sperm and egg cells. Diploid A cell with two full sets of chromosomes. but treatment is now so improved that patients commonly live into their 20s and beyond. which means one in 100 women will miscarry following this procedure.

and is used as an initial screen for HIV detection. Electrophoresis A technique used to separate molecules such as DNA or proteins using an electric current. Many essential reactions in the body require the help of enzymes and would not proceed on their own. multicelled organism) in order to ascertain the effect of the substance (for example. Top of Page F Fermentation A process of growing microorganisms to produce various chemical or pharmaceutical compounds. Embryo Defined in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act as a human organism during the first 56 days of its development following fertilization or creation. Expression The process of converting genetic information into RNA and protein for use in the cell. Fetal . the molecules will travel through the medium to the other end at different speeds depending on the charge and size of the molecule. after major structures have been outlined. Enzyme-Linked Immuno Assays (EIA) Enzyme-Linked Immuno Assays (EIA) are use to measure the amount of a particular substance by virtue of its binding to a specific antibody. Based on the principle of antibody-antibody interaction. coli (Escherichia coli) A bacterium found in the intestinal tracts of most vertebrates. Every gene is not expressed at the same level and at the same time. Researchers are looking at the great potential stem cells have in developing new treatments for disease and injury. It includes any cell derived from such an organism that is used for the purpose of creating a human being. Northern and Western). excluding any time during which its development has been suspended. can give a lot of information about the roles genes play in different situations. Expression patterns. the gel can be used in a blot (Southern. easily analyzed using microarray technology. Enzyme A protein that facilitates a biochemical reaction. Examples of EIA include ELISA and Western blotting. such as disease and health. Fetal tissue The tissue from the unborn offspring of a human in the post-embryonic period (from eight weeks after fertilization to birth). this test allows for easy visualization of results and can be completed without the additional concern of radioactive materials use. When a current is applied to it.E E. Enzymatic Activity of an enzyme which is a substance produced by a living organism and acting as a catalyst to promote a specific biochemical reaction. Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay The ELISA is a fundamental tool of clinical immunology. Microbes are usually incubated under specific conditions in large tanks called fermenters. Ex vivo (testing) The testing of a substance by exposing it to (excised) living cells (but not to the whole. Embryonic stem cells Cells that are removed from the early embryo and are able to become any of the 210 cell types found in the human body. It is used extensively in recombinant DNA research because it has been genetically well characterized. Fermentation is a specific type of bioprocessing. Once the molecules are separated. The mixture of molecules is added to one end of a gel-like medium. pharmaceutical) on the biochemistry of the cell.

Every human being (except identical twins) has a unique set of genes. excluding any time during which its development has been suspended. There are also other potential medical uses for fetal tissue. chewing gum and any substance which has been used to manufacture. to test the efficacy and developmental malformations caused by new pharmaceutical products.such as resistance to insect attack . whether processed. Genetic engineering The technique of removing. Food Any substance. Fetus Defined in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act as a human organism during the period of its development beginning on the 57th day following fertilization or creation. other than a purely nutritional effect. which varies sufficiently between individuals that its pattern of inheritance can be tracked through families and/or it can be used to distinguish among cell types. Genetic engineering allows scientists to isolate a specific gene for a particular trait . Gene expression See Expression. By changing this information. It is made up of DNA that acts as a blueprint to make a particular protein. Emerging medical practices use fetal tissue to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease. or a change in the chromosomes. etc. Gene The basic unit of heredity. The Human Genome Project estimates that humans have over 30.tissue research is conducted using fetal tissue from cadavers to study birth anomalies. Human fetal tissue in culture is used by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop vaccines. and ending at birth. Each one is responsible for a different part of our biology. Genetic marker A DNA sequence at a unique physical location in the genome. A marker may or may not be part of a . infectious disease. located on a chromosome. genetic engineering changes the type or amount of proteins an organism is capable of producing. modifying or adding genes to a DNA molecule to change the information it contains. Gene therapy An evolving technique used to treat genetic diseases. and transfer it into another plant. Food biotechnology The application of biotechnology to the production of food. It excludes cosmetics. The medical procedure involves replacing. and to conduct research into viruses. which is intended for human consumption. carcinogenesis. tobacco and substances used only as drugs. prepare or treat "food". Genetic mapping A research method that collects genetic information to determine the relative position of a gene or a phenotype in the genome. Genetic disease A disease or condition caused by a change or mutation in a gene. semi-processed or raw.000 genes in their genome. manipulating or supplementing non-functional genes with healthy genes so that they can function normally. half of which came from their mother and the other half from their father. Also known as nutraceutical. genetic anomalies. Top of Page G Gamete A mature reproductive cell (sperm or egg cell) that contributes to fertilization. Functional food Ordinary food that has components or ingredients added to give it a specific medical or physiological benefit.in a plant or animal. It includes drinks.

fish and mammals are some examples of organisms whose genetic material has been artificially modified to change some physical property or capability. done most often on a blood sample. psychological and informational integrity and decision making. Genetics The study of how traits are passed on in families and how genes are involved in health and disease. Top of Page . and to discover the associations between genetic mutations and disease. Genetic privacy The freedom from unauthorized intrusion. Genome All of an organism's genetic information. Genetically modified organism (GMO) An organism produced from genetic engineering techniques that allow the transfer of functional genes from one organism to another. Genetic toxicology A research field in which genetic samples from a living organism (including humans) are placed on a DNA microarray (gene chip) and tested in a computerized device for the presence of toxic substances from the environment. that might confirm the diagnosis of a genetic disease or that show a predisposition to a genetic disease. Genetic testing A laboratory test. cancer and birth defects. but also on cheek cells. or mutations.gene. The Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that confidential therapeutic relations enjoy some Charter protection but they are not absolute. or the application of genetic analysis to identify potential targets for therapeutic products (drugs. This includes both traditional breeding and recombinant DNA techniques. it protects territorial. Genetic modification A general term which refers to any intentional change to the heritable traits of an organism. It looks at a particular gene for changes. plants. Living modified organisms (LMOs) and transgenic organisms are other terms often used instead of GMOs. including all of the DNA that makes up the genes that are carried on the chromosomes. Germ cell A reproductive cell (sperm or egg cell). vaccines). insects. an individual's consent or waiver of privacy. viruses. Recognized exceptions include those authorized in law. more specifically. amniotic fluid or a placenta sample. bone marrow. control and spread of personal information. Informational privacy protects the access. genes and DNA) and how different genes interact with each other. skin cells. bodily. pharmacogenomics. The study of the pattern of occurrence of such biomarkers in a sample of individuals or a community is called genetic epidemiology. Bacteria. See also Gamete. Genomics The study of the entire genome (chromosomes. and overriding duties to third parties. including from one species to another. It is done to determine if the organism providing the sample has been exposed to specific chemicals which have caused problems such as mutations. Privacy is essential to maintaining relations of trust. which has 23 chromosomes in humans (haploid). Genomics and molecular biology form the basis for modern biotechnology and. fungi. Often referred to as the right to be let alone. Markers are essential for use in linkage studies and genetic maps to help scientists to narrow down the possible location of new genes. Many of these interests are directly implicated by genetic testing. Genotype The genetic make-up of an individual. usually referring to a particular pair of alleles for a gene that can be related to a particular phenotype of interest.

Haploid A cell with one set of chromosomes. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the delivery of Canada's health care and hospital services. Human genetics The study of how traits are passed on in families and how genes are involved in health and disease. Heterozygote An individual with two different alleles at a particular locus on a pair of chromosomes. or transplant a human clone into a human being or into any non-human life form or artificial device".H Half-life The time required for the decay of half of a sample of particles of a radionucleotide or elementary particle. Haplotype characterization The characterization of SNPs by coherent packages (SNPs that are usually transmitted together). Host genomics The genetic makeup of a person (host or patient). Health product Encompasses products subject to the Food and Drugs Act. which received royal assent on March 29.living or deceased . systematic use of routinely collected health data to guide public health action in a timely fashion. Medical devices 4.human being. Once they join during fertilization. as a result of the manipulation of human reproductive material or an in vitro embryo. In humans. The Act. analysis and interpretation of those data into a product that is disseminated to those who need to know. and are managed along the following broad categories: 1. the egg and sperm cells are haploid cells and have only 23 chromosomes. Homozygote An individual with two identical alleles at a particular locus on a pair of chromosomes. liver cell Heredity The transfer of genetic information from parents to children. foetus or embryo". Health surveillance tracks and forecasts the occurrence of health events or determinants through ongoing data collection. inpatient and outpatient physician services. the federal government shares in the cost of these services. Hepatocyte Any of the polygonal epithelial parenchymatous cells of the liver that secrete bile called also hepatic cell. Health care Canada's health care system provides access to universal. Hormones act as messengers to tell the target cell to stop or start certain cellular processes. It also involves the collation. the resulting cell will be diploid with 46 chromosomes. comprehensive coverage for medically necessary hospital. Pharmaceuticals (both regular and biotechnology-based products) 3. . 2004. Biologics (both regular and biotechnology-based products) 2. Human clone Defined in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act as "an embryo that. Hormones A chemical that is made by one type of cell in the body and acts on another. states that "no person shall knowingly create a human clone by using any technique. contains a diploid set of chromosomes obtained from a single -. Natural Health Products Health surveillance The ongoing.

secreted proteins originally classified on the basis of cellular origin including: leucocyte IFN (alpha). In humans there are three major classes: Type I consists mainly of the original types alpha (including various isoforms) and beta. so that the RNA becomes associated with the complementary DNA. Immunotoxicity The toxicity of a therapeutic agent because it could cause immune reactions or allergy. The IFNs have been reclassified based on their recognition of cell-surface receptors. Interferon A protein first recognized in animals for its action in inhibiting viral replication and inducing resistance in host cells. patent. fibroblastic IFN (beta) and immune IFN (gamma). industrial design or integrated topography. The IFNs have multiple biological activities demonstrated to greater or lesser degree by the various types. for example. Immuno Therapies and/or treatments that stimulate the immune system. acquired. or induced inability to develop a normal immune response. by irradiation or by administrating certain substances. There is increasing pressure on the patent system to patent life forms. the stimulation of cellular immune responses against viruses. species-specific. Immunotyping The process of screening patients specimens to identify the specific viral antigen on antigen presenting cells or detecting specific viral antibodies. Insulin A hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of sugar in the blood. Type II consists of IFN gamma. mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. bacteria and tumours. . cells and organs that work together to protect the body against infection and disease. Human health The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical. Intellectual property A form of creative endeavour that can be protected through a trademark. map and sequence all human genes. Examples from each of these classes have been cloned and commercialized.Human Genome Project An international research effort that aims to identify. Top of Page I Immune system A network of molecules. Hybridization The creation of RNA-DNA hybrids by a heating process. Immunosuppression The prevention or lessening of the immune response. The patent system offers the only protection available for the intellectual products of research. and. Type III consists of IFN lambda. The interferons (IFNs) are a highly conserved family of multi-functional. the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. These include: the induction of intracellular mechanisms having antiviral effects (affecting viral protein synthesis) and anti-proliferative effects (affecting cell replication). copyright. Immunodeficiency An innate. In vitro Describes a biological process that takes place in a laboratory instead of in a living cell or organism.

a female has two X chromosomes and a male has one X and one Y chromosome. Legislative process See Legislation. "signalling" molecules. attached to it. trisomy or monosomy) or the structure. A living organism is a biological entity that can transfer or replicate genetic material. The karyotype is a test sometimes requested by a physician to look for major changes in the chromosomes. The 23rd pair of chromosomes are the sex chromosomes -. Fertilized eggs can then be transferred to the woman's uterus to try to establish a pregnancy or they can be frozen for future use. Spectral karyotyping. Eggs are removed from the woman and fertilized with the man's sperm in the laboratory. Meiosis . such as a change in the number (for example. Top of Page K Karyotype A picture of an individual's chromosomes as seen under a microscope. It is useful for observing the number. Locus The position of a gene or a marker on a chromosome. Top of Page L Legislation A collection of written and approved laws that "guide" behaviours in society. has a small piece of a different chromosome. Top of Page M Marker gene Genes that identify which plants have been successfully transformed. on the other hand. Lipids Water-insoluble (fat) biomolecules that are highly soluble in organic solvents such as chloroform. size and shape of the chromosomes.In vitro fertilization A procedure to help infertile couples conceive. and are basic components of cell membranes. painted in another colour. highly concentrated energy stores. The chromosomes can be identified by their unique banding patterns and arranged in order of size (1 is the largest and 22 is the smallest). Living modified organism (LMO) Any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through modern biotechnology. In vivo Describes a biological process that takes place in a living cell or organism. Karyotyping (traditional) A laboratory technique that allows scientists to view all of the human chromosomes at one time in black and white. Even non-experts can see instances where a chromosome. "paints" each pair of chromosomes in a different fluorescent colour. painted in one colour. Lipids serve as "fuel" molecules in organisms. who might need hours to examine a single chromosome. Interpreting these karyotypes requires an expert.

pollutant levels (rates) and effects on species in the environment. they are not identical. Mitosis results in two daughter cells that are genetically identical to each other and to the original cell. Mitochondria The cell organelles responsible for energy production. multicellular and biological systems. Although both involve the multiparametric measurement of metabolites. which each has 23 chromosomes (it is haploid). agricultural crop. microbe. Pharming: The manufacture of medical products from genetically modified plants or animals. Molecular Pharming The application of biotechnology to produce selected pharmaceutical compounds or other health or industrial compounds within a living organism (for example. Microarray A glass or plastic slide with many DNA spots attached to it. One cell gives rise to four new daughter cells. Microbial genetics The study of genetics in microorganisms. Monosomy . such as protozoa. fungi and viruses. Mitosis The process of cell division in most cells in the human body. Microorganism An organism that is visible only under a microscope. Monitoring Activities conducted to measure levels. and to determine existing environmental conditions. Metabonomics and metabolomics These very similar terms have arisen at about the same time in different areas of bioscience research. which allows researchers to study how many genes act and interact in different conditions. Metabolomics deals with simple cell systems and. Metabolome The quantitative complement of all the low molecular weight molecules present in cells in a particular physiological or developmental state.The process of cell division in human sperm and egg cells during their development. including communicating extracellular environments. Molecular genetics The study of the molecular structure and function of genes. respectively. Metabonomics deals with integrated. Microbiology The study of microorganisms and how they interact with the environment and other organisms. livestock). which is different from the cell's DNA in the nucleus. mainly intracellular metabolite concentrations. Messenger RNA (mRNA) RNA that is complementary to the DNA of a gene and acts as a template to make the protein. so they are inherited from the mother. concentrations or quantities of material and the use of these measurement results to evaluate potential exposures and doses. Mitochondria are passed on from one generation to the next in the cytoplasm of the egg. Monoclonal antibodies Antibodies derived from a single source (a group of cloned cells) and recognize only one kind of antigen. hybrids of antibody-producing cells and immortal cancer cells. at least in terms of published data. They are made in the laboratory from hybridoma cells. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) The genetic material found in the mitochondria. mainly animal biochemistry and microbial/plant biochemistry. bacteria.

transformation. Mosaicism The presence of two or more cell populations that have a different genetic or chromosomal makeup in a single individual or tissue. Health Canada provides the manufacturer with a market authorization to sell the product in Canada. Health Canada concludes that the benefits of the health product outweigh the risks and that the risks can be mitigated and/or managed. mutation. who will then carry it in every cell of their body. that does not have a history of safe use as a food. etc. also known as Turner syndrome. The word was originally coined by Norio Taniguchi in 1974. In humans. enzyme molecules function essentially as jigs and machine tools to shape large molecules as they are formed in biochemical reactions. or c) a food that is derived from a plant. Mutagenisis The formation or development of a mutation. Eric Drexler later popularized the concept of nanotechnology as a new and developing technology in which humans manipulate objects whose dimensions are approximately 1 to 100 nanometers. Top of Page N Nanotechnology A precise molecule-by-molecule control of products and byproducts in the development of functional structures. Theoretically. X. prepared. Mutations like these can lead to cancer if they interrupt the cell cycle. Novel trait in a plant A plant with characteristics not normally found in that species in which the new characteristic has been created through specific genetic manipulation. For example. to refer to high precision machining. assessed and deemed by Health Canada to meet the Food and Drug Regulations it is given a Notice of Compliance. tiny [molecular] machines smaller than a grain of sand) could manufacture those things that are produced in factories today. From the Latin nanus = "dwarf". so it literally means "dwarf technology". b) a food that has been manufactured. it is possible that in the future a variety of human-made "nano-assemblers" (that is. Multifactorial Describes a trait that is determined by the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental factors. Novel food a) a substance. and causes the food to undergo a major change.One chromosome of a pair is missing. animal or microorganism that has been genetically modified. A mutation can also arise in one cell in the body. Richard Feynman and K. Notice of Compliance Once a product submission has been reviewed. A mutation can arise in a germ cell and be passed on to an individual's children. preserved or packaged by a process that has not been applied before to that food. this would result in a total of 45 chromosomes. An example of monosomy is 45. such as a skin or heart cell. including a microorganism. but still microscopic functional structures and machines. The technology also encompasses biochips. Moratorium A temporary prohibition or suspension of an activity. Mutation A change in the DNA sequence that can interfere with protein production. Nucleotides . biosensors and manipulating atoms and molecules in order to form (build) bigger. However.

Pathogen An agent that causes disease. Fungicides. diseases. soil fumigants and insecticides are all pesticides. . industrial or consumer products. Patenting life See also Patent. medical. The Canadian Patent Office has a policy of not granting patents on "higher life forms". sanitizers. Oncology The study of tumours. Nucleus The structure in eukaryotic cells (cells with a true nucleus) that contains the cellular DNA. novel. fungi and other "pests" on plants. and in buildings. The issue the courts are considering is whether or not a particular.the access to and use of which would be protected through trademark." which has been modified to make it more genetically susceptible to cancer) should be able to hold a patent.that is. animals or humans that may have the potential to be sold as scientific. fruits. weeds. Patents are granted for products and processes that are considered new. Top of Page O Oncogene A gene that has the potential to make a normal cell become cancerous. useful and inventive . a type of research in which investigators look for biological and genetic information about plants. modified life form may be considered intellectual property -. Pharmacodynamics The study of how drugs achieve their therapeutic effect. Organism A living thing that can function independently.The substances that make up the chromosomes and the genes. A nutraceutical has been demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease. rodenticides. patent or copyright. especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium or fungus.or for useful improvements to some existing invention. Pharmaceutical A medical drug. A related area is bioprospecting. workable and ingenious . herbicides. Pesticide A broad term that defines all chemical substances used to control insects. vegetables and animals. Nutraceutical A product isolated or purified from food that is generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food. Top of Page P Patent A government grant giving exclusive rights to the inventor to make. One still unresolved court case involves a claim that a life form that has been genetically modified (the so-called "oncomouse. use or sell an invention for a period of 20 years from the date when a patent application is filed. plants or animals beyond the level of a microorganism. growth regulators.

Pharmacogenetics is the study of genetic differences among individuals that relate to drug response. and sheep scrapie. such as industrial compounds or therapeutics Plasmid A DNA structure that is separate from the cell's genome and can replicate independently of the host cell. individual and population level. Prenatal Existing or occurring before birth: prenatal medical care Prion A protein particle found in brain cell membranes. lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. are often used interchangeably. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) A laboratory method used to make many copies of a DNA fragment in minutes using an enzyme called polymerase. Phenotype A set of observable physical characteristics of an organism. bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cows. A related area is biopharmaceuticals. human blood stem cells have been shown to differentiate into liver cells. Examples could include engineering of new systems to sequence proteins or study protein interactions with other proteins or DNA. and developing centres with expertise and accountability for protein analysis. Precautionary principle A principle associated with risk management. Plant genetics The study of genetics in plants. including vaccines. Prokaryotes Organisms whose genetic material is not enclosed by a nucleus. potentially replacing pills and syringe injections. It states that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage. Protein . The most common examples are bacteria. into foods. Pharmacogenomics is the study of variability in the expression of individual genes that relate to disease susceptibility and drug response at the cellular. distributed and cleared from the body. Proteomics The study of the protein products of genes. whereby transgenic techniques are used to insert therapeutic properties. Plasmids are used in the laboratory to deliver specific DNA sequences into a cell. such as 2D protein databases. which relate to the role of genetics in pharmaceutical research. such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans. Pharmacokinetics The study of how drugs are absorbed. protein-protein interactions and protein subcellular localization. Plasticity The ability of adult-derived stem cells to be capable of developing into cells types outside of the tissue of origin (for example. developing faster and cheaper detectors. A major objective of pharmacogenomics is the development of innovative classes of targeted drugs and vaccines designed to affect highly specific processes in the body while minimizing side effects. such as high-density capillaries or high throughput mass spectrometers. Changes in its structure appear to be related to infectious diseases of the nervous system. tissue.Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics These two terms. Platform technology Technology that has a common starting point but diverges once it is put into actual practice. Plant Molecular Farming (PMF) This technique involves using genetically modified plants to produce substances that the plants typically do not produce naturally.

and more people can live longer. its own enzyme reverse transcriptase makes viral DNA from the RNA template. healthier lives. The Department of Justice issues a special number to indicate that it is a regulation. Top of Page R Radiopharmaceuticals A radioactive compound used in radiotherapy or diagnosis Recessive inheritance See Autosomal recessive. Retrovirus A virus with RNA as its genetic material. which can be separated out on a gel or inserted into a plasmid. Proto-oncogene A normal gene that has the potential to become an oncogene. a type of nucleic acid. There are three major types: messenger RNA. enzymes and antibodies. A good public system means fewer people become sick or injured. function and regulation of body cells. When their fragments are run on a gel. they produce different lengths of fragments when the restriction enzyme is used to cut up the DNA. Reproductive cloning The cloning of an embryo for transplantation into a uterus with the intention of producing offspring genetically identical to the donor. tissues and organs. transfer RNA. More broadly. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) A change in the DNA of an organism that changes how a restriction enzyme cuts the DNA into pieces. A large molecule is made up of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. All are involved in the synthesis of proteins from the . The order is determined by the base sequence of nucleotides in the gene coding for the protein. This viral DNA can then be integrated into the host cell's genome to produce more viral particles. If the organisms have different spaces between their restriction enzyme sites. Two or more organisms can be compared based on the pattern of their DNA fragments when they are run on a gel (by electrophoresis). Ribonucleic acid (RNA) Like DNA.Required for the structure. Reproductive technology See Assisted human reproduction. The resulting fragments can then be spliced together to form recombinant DNA. Examples are hormones. When the retrovirus infects a cell. Reproductive materials Human male or female reproductive cells (sperm or egg). Public health The public health system in Canada is responsible for helping to protect Canadians from injury and disease and for helping them to stay healthy. they produce different patterns because the shorter fragments will move further than the longer ones. Recombinant DNA The DNA formed when DNA fragments from more than one organism are spliced together in vitro. Restriction enzyme An enzyme used to cut DNA at specific sites. Each protein has unique functions. and human embryos and their derivatives. A regulation is used both to indicate a specific type of delegated legislation as well as to refer generically to all forms of delegated legislation. Regulation A law made by a person or body that has been granted (delegated) law-making authority. regulation may refer to all government intervention in the lives of citizens. and ribosomal RNA.

They are an important resource for disease research and for the development of new ways to treat disease.information contained in the DNA molecule. This genotypic difference can cause a phenotypic difference in hair colour. Stem cell A fundamental cell that has the potential to develop into any of the 210 different cell types found in the human body. but they cannot become placental tissue needed for development in the human uterus. Stem cell differentiation begins when they are exposed to certain biochemical cues . cytosine and thymine) that make up a DNA or RNA fragment. she was genetically identical to her "mother". Sex chromosome The 23rd pair of chromosomes in humans are the sex chromosomes. evaluation and management of risks and public health interventions and programs (if needed). analysis. Pluripotent stem cells can become almost any cell in the human body. Totipotent stem cells can become any cell in the human body. This is how Dolly the cloned sheep was produced. Synonyms: gene splicing. like becoming liver or heart cells. Top of Page S Sequencing of DNA Molecules The process of finding the order of nucleotides (guanine. depending on the gene. Stem cell differentiation The process by which a stem cell can become a specific cell type.whether physiological or experimental. height or response to a drug. Top of Page . Human life begins with stem cells. such as blood cells. Females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y chromosome. Stewardship The preservation of public good by ensuring that the social and the ethical issues related to biotechnology are addressed. interpretation and dissemination of data (generated by the laboratory and private and public domain literature) related to the biotechnology field to assist in the planning and implementation of research. which divide again and again and branch off into special roles. All stem cells have the capacity to differentiate. This technique can be used both for reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) Individual differences at a single nucleotide of DNA. The resulting egg will carry the full complement of genetic material of the host organism. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) A cloning technique where the nucleus from an unfertilized egg is removed and replaced with the nucleus from a somatic cell. Multipotent stem cells can become only a certain type of cell. adenine. but to different degrees. Biochemical cues in different parts of the body stimulate stem cells to grow into the specific cells needed in that location. Surveillance Systematic collection. Somatic cell Any cell in the body except the germ cells (egg and sperm). genetic engineering. and that the federal government has an effective regulatory regime and the science capacity to protect human and animal health and the environment.

cell/tissue/organ type) as a consequence of an organism's exposure to environmental substances (contaminants such as chemicals. Another possibility is the transfer of genetically controlled properties between different animal species. See Genetically modified organisms and Living modified organisms. Totipotent Stem Cells Bone marrow cells that (when signalled) mature into both red blood cells and white blood cells. protein. in addition to the normal pair. Tumour An abnormal benign or malignant mass of tissue that is not inflammatory. Trisomy The presence of an extra chromosome. the two strands being complementary. Receptors on the surface of totipotent stem cells "grasp" passing blood cell growth factors (for example. This may be viewed as a more precise form of hybridization or plant/animal breeding. bringing them inside these stem cells and thus causing the maturation and differentiation into red and white blood cells. drugs and micro/multicellular organisms and/or components) and stressors (for example.T Template A strand of DNA or RNA (mRNA) that specifies the base sequence of a newly synthesized strand of DNA or RNA. incipient and overt adverse (toxic) effects on genome structure and expression levels (RNA. Toxicogenomics A fusion of genomics and toxicology disciplines intended to identify. In humans. solar radiation and water). Interleukin. Top of Page . Transplantation The implanting of cells. quality of air. with the added consideration that genetic material from species significantly different from one another is involved (for example. Trait A characteristic of an organism.7. classify and manage the latent (inherent susceptibility). Transgenics The insertion or splicing of specific genetic sequences from one species into the functioning genome of an unrelated species to transfer desired properties for human purposes. or organs which have been retrieved from a living or deceased donor into a recipient. this would result in a total of 47 chromosomes. An example of trisomy is trisomy 21. Stem Cell Growth Factor). Transfer RNA (tRNA) RNA molecules that bind to amino acids and carry them to the ribosomes where proteins are made. Transformation A process by which the genetic information of an organism is changed by the addition of foreign DNA. such as the breeding of goats whose milk yields spider silk for possible development of new structural materials. the insertion of genetic material from an animal into a plant or vice versa). soil. which is also known as Down syndrome. and possesses no physiological function. Transcription A process in the cell where the DNA is used as a template to make the messenger RNA. tissues. Therapeutic cloning The cloning of an embryo for the purpose of deriving stem cells for use in research and treatment of disease. arises without obvious cause from cells of pre-existent tissue. climate. These receptors are called FLK-Z receptors.

particularly viruses. Top of Page X Xenogeneic organs Xenogeneic literally means "strange genes". A preventive (prophylactic) vaccine is intended to prevent disease from starting. administered to stimulate an immune response that will protect a person from illness due to that agent. Refers to genetically engineered (for example. tissues and organs from one species to another. cellular grafts. It describes the transfer of infections by transplantation of xenogeneic tissues or organs. with viable. Xenosis (xenozoonoses) A term coined from the word "xenozoonoses". It can be created using the recombinant DNA process.V Vaccine A preparation that contains an agent or its components. Also called heterographs. Vector A vehicle that carries foreign genes into an organism and inserts them into the organism's genome. liveattenuated (weakened) or artificially manufactured. It cannot reproduce on its own but infects an organism's cell in order to use that cell's reproductive machinery to create more viruses. It potentially poses unique epidemiological hazards due to the efficiency of transmission of pathogens. Modified viruses are used as vectors for gene therapy. The term is usually used to describe animal-to-human transplants. An example is the transplant of a kidney from a pig to a human. . Agents used in vaccines may be whole-killed (inactive). "humanized") organs that have been grown within an animal of another species. The principal reason for medical and scientific inquiry in this area is to find alternatives to human organs and tissue transplants. Xenografts A type of tissue graft in which the donor and recipient are of different species. Xenotransplantation The transplantation of living cells. A therapeutic (treatment) vaccine is given after disease has started and is intended to reduce or arrest the progress of the disease. Virus A submicroscopic particle that can infect other organisms. It usually consists of a DNA or RNA genome enclosed in a protective protein coat.

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