Biotech > Glossary

Bioinformatics Glossary

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"Lab on a chip"

Term describing microdevices that allow rapid, microanalytical analysis of DNA or protein in a single, fully integrated system. Typically, these devices are miniature surfaces, made of silicon, glass or plastic, which carry the necessary microdevices (pumps, valves, microfluidic controllers, and detectors) that allow sample separation and analysis. These devices are used in drug discovery, genetic testing and separation science. 

Lead compound

A candidate compound identified as the best "hit" (tight binder) after screening of a combinatorial (or other) compound library, that is then taken into further rounds of screening to determine its suitability as a drug. 

Lead optimization

The process of converting a putative lead compound ("hit") into a therapeutic drug with maximal activity and minimal side affects, typically using a combination of computer-based drug design, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. 

Leucine zipper

Protein motif which binds DNA in which 4-5 Leucines are found at 7 amino acid intervals. This motif is present typically in transcription factors and other proteins that bind DNA. 


In Bioinformatics, a lexicon refers to a pre-defined list of terms that together completely define the contents of a particular database. 
(strict.) The component in the grammar which is in bare form a list of words or lexical entries. 


A large collection of compounds, peptides, cDNAs or genes which may be screened in order to isolate cognate molecules. 


Any small molecule that binds to a protein or receptor; the cognate partner of many cellular proteins, enzymes, and receptors. 


The association of genes (or genetic loci) on the same chromosome. Genes that are linked together tend to be transmitted together. 

Linkage map

A genetic map of a chromosome or genome delineated by mapping the positions of genes to their chromosomes by their linkage to readily identifiable genetic loci. 


The specific position occupied by a gene on a chromosome. At a given locus, any one of the variant forms of a gene may be present. The variants are said to be alleles of that gene. 

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