Biotech > Glossary

Bioinformatics Glossary

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Naked DNA

Pure, isolated DNA devoid of any proteins that may bind to it. 

NCEs (New Chemical Entity)

Compounds identified as potential drugs that are sent from research and development into clinical trials to determine their suitability.

Nested PCR

The second round amplification of an already PCR-amplified sequence using a new pair of primers which are internal to the original primers. Typically done when a single PCR reaction generates insufficient amounts of product. 

Neural net

A neural net is an interconnected assembly of simple processing elements, units or nodes, whose functionality is loosely based on the animal brain. The processing ability of the network is stored in the inter-unit connection strengths, or weights, obtained by a process of adaptation to, or learning from, a set of training patterns. Neural nets are used in bioinformatics to map data and make predictions, such as taking a multiple alignment of a protein family as a training set in order to identify novel members of the family from their sequence data alone. 

Nonsense mutation

A point mutation in which a codon specific for an amino-acid is converted into a "stop" codon. 

Northern blotting

A technique to identify RNA molecules by hybridization that is analogous to Southern blotting (see Southern blotting). 


Any enzyme that can cleave the phosphodiester bonds of nucleic acid backbones. 


A five-carbon sugar covalently attached to a nitrogen base. 


A nucleic acid unit composed of a five carbon sugar joined to a phosphate group and a nitrogen base. 

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