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Glossary Molecular Biology and Computational Biology

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Macrorestriction map Map depicting the order of and distance between sites at which restriction enzymes cleave chromosomes.


Mapping population The group of related organisms used in constructing a genetic map.


Masking Also known as Filtering. The removal of repeated or low complexity regions from a sequence in order to improve the sensitivity of sequence similarity searches performed with that sequence.

Mass spectrometry An instrument used to identify chemicals in a substance by their mass and charge.

Meander A simple topology of a beta-sheet where any two consecutive strands are adjacent and antiparallel

Megabase (Mb) Unit of length for DNA fragments equal to 1 million nucleotides and roughly equal to 1 cM.

Meiosis The process of two consecutive cell divisions in the diploid progenitors of sex cells. Meiosis results in four rather than two daughter cells, each with a haploid set of chromosomes.

Mendelian inheritance One method in which genetic traits are passed from parents to offspring. Named for Gregor Mendel, who first studied and recognized the existence of genes and this method of inheritance.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) RNA that serves as a template for protein synthesis.

Metaphase A stage in mitosis or meiosis during which the chromosomes are aligned along the equatorial plane of the cell.

Microarray Sets of miniaturized chemical reaction areas that may also be used to test DNA fragments, antibodies, or proteins.

Microbial genetics The study of genes and gene function in bacteria, archaea, and other microorganisms. Often used in research in the fields of bioremediation, alternative energy, and disease prevention.

Microinjection A technique for introducing a solution of DNA into a cell using a fine microcapillary pipet.

Mitochondrial DNA The genetic material found in mitochondria, the organelles that generate energy for the cell. Not inherited in the same fashion as nucleic DNA.

Mitosis The process of nuclear division in cells that produces daughter cells that are genetically identical to each other and to the parent cell.

Model organisms A laboratory animal or other organism useful for research.

Modeling The use of statistical analysis, computer analysis, or model organisms to predict outcomes of research.

Molecular biology The study of the structure, function, and makeup of biologically important molecules.

Molecular farming The development of transgenic animals to produce human proteins for medical use.

Molecular genetics The study of macromolecules important in biological inheritance.

Molecular medicine The treatment of injury or disease at the molecular level. Examples include the use of DNA-based diagnostic tests or medicine derived from DNA sequence information.

Monogenic disorder A disorder caused by mutation of a single gene.

Monogenic inheritance

Monosomy Possessing only one copy of a particular chromosome instead of the normal two copies.

Morbid map A diagram showing the chromosomal location of genes associated with disease.

Motif A short conserved region in a protein sequence. Motifs are frequently highly conserved parts of domains.

Motif Sequence motifs are short conserved regions of polypeptides. Sets of sequence motifs need not necessarily represent homologues.

Mouse model

Multifactorial or Multigenic Disorder

Multiple Sequence Alignment An alignment of three or more sequences with gaps inserted in the sequences such that residues with common structural positions and/or ancestral residues are aligned in the same column. Clustal W is one of the most widely used multiple sequence alignment programs

Multiplexing A laboratory approach that performs multiple sets of reactions in parallel (simultaneously); greatly increasing speed and throughput.

Murine Organism in the genus Mus. A rat or mouse.

Mutagen An agent that causes a permanent genetic change in a cell. Does not include changes occurring during normal genetic recombination.

Mutagenicity The capacity of a chemical or physical agent to cause permanent genetic alterations.

Mutation Any heritable change in DNA sequence.

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