Biotech > Glossary

Bioinformatics Glossary

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Variable numbers of tandem repeats (VNTRs)

DNA sequence blocks of 2-60 base pairs which are repeated from two to more than 20 times in different individuals. This polymorphism makes VNTRs very useful DNA markers used in genomic mapping, linkage analysis and also DNA fingerprinting. 

Variation (genetic)

Variation in genetic sequences and the detection of DNA sequence variants genome-wide allow studies relating the distribution of sequence variation to a population history. This in turn allows one to determine the density of SNPS or other markers needed for gene mapping studies.  Quantitation of these variations together with analytical tools for studying sequence variation also relate genetic variations to phenotype. 


Any agent that transfers material (typically DNA) from one host to another. Typically DNA vectors are autonomous DNA elements (such as plasmids) that can be manipulated and integrated into a hostís DNA or recombinant viruses. 

Virtual libraries

The creation and storage of vast collections of molecular structures in an electronic database. These databases may be queried for subsets that exhibit specific physicochemical features, or may be "virtually screened" for their ability to bind a drug target. This process may be performed prior to the synthesis and testing of the molecules themselves. 


Visualization is the process of representing abstract scientific data as images that can aid in understanding the meaning of the data. 

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