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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

genetic engineering. 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. evaluation and management of risks and public health interventions and programs (if needed). depending on the gene. This is how Dolly the cloned sheep was produced. Pluripotent stem cells can become almost any cell in the human body. Stem cell A fundamental cell that has the potential to develop into any of the 210 different cell types found in the human body. like becoming liver or heart cells. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) Individual differences at a single nucleotide of DNA. cytosine and thymine) that make up a DNA or RNA fragment. The resulting egg will carry the full complement of genetic material of the host organism.information contained in the DNA molecule. Surveillance Systematic collection. Sex chromosome The 23rd pair of chromosomes in humans are the sex chromosomes. 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. height or response to a drug. Human life begins with stem cells. Synonyms: gene splicing. and that the federal government has an effective regulatory regime and the science capacity to protect human and animal health and the environment. analysis. which divide again and again and branch off into special roles. Top of Page . They are an important resource for disease research and for the development of new ways to treat disease. 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. adenine. All stem cells have the capacity to differentiate. Totipotent stem cells can become any cell in the human body. she was genetically identical to her "mother". such as blood cells. This technique can be used both for reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Multipotent stem cells can become only a certain type of cell. This genotypic difference can cause a phenotypic difference in hair colour. Stewardship The preservation of public good by ensuring that the social and the ethical issues related to biotechnology are addressed. Top of Page S Sequencing of DNA Molecules The process of finding the order of nucleotides (guanine. 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 . Somatic cell Any cell in the body except the germ cells (egg and sperm). Stem cell differentiation The process by which a stem cell can become a specific cell type.whether physiological or experimental. Females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y chromosome.

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

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. Virus A submicroscopic particle that can infect other organisms. Vector A vehicle that carries foreign genes into an organism and inserts them into the organism's genome. Agents used in vaccines may be whole-killed (inactive). Modified viruses are used as vectors for gene therapy. Top of Page X Xenogeneic organs Xenogeneic literally means "strange genes". Refers to genetically engineered (for example. "humanized") organs that have been grown within an animal of another species. An example is the transplant of a kidney from a pig to a human. The term is usually used to describe animal-to-human transplants. Xenografts A type of tissue graft in which the donor and recipient are of different species. It describes the transfer of infections by transplantation of xenogeneic tissues or organs. tissues and organs from one species to another. liveattenuated (weakened) or artificially manufactured. administered to stimulate an immune response that will protect a person from illness due to that agent. Also called heterographs. The principal reason for medical and scientific inquiry in this area is to find alternatives to human organs and tissue transplants. A preventive (prophylactic) vaccine is intended to prevent disease from starting. particularly viruses. with viable. A therapeutic (treatment) vaccine is given after disease has started and is intended to reduce or arrest the progress of the disease. It potentially poses unique epidemiological hazards due to the efficiency of transmission of pathogens. Xenotransplantation The transplantation of living cells. cellular grafts. It can be created using the recombinant DNA process. It usually consists of a DNA or RNA genome enclosed in a protective protein coat.V Vaccine A preparation that contains an agent or its components. . Xenosis (xenozoonoses) A term coined from the word "xenozoonoses".

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