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Genes and genetics

carrier

noun

someone who can pass a genetic disease to their children without suffering from it themselves

carry

verb

to have a gene that causes a particular biological characteristic to be passed on

chromosome

noun

a structure that looks like a very small piece of string and that exists, usually as one of a pair, in the central part of all living cells. Chromosomes contain genes.

clone

noun

an exact copy of an animal or plant created in a laboratory from the animal’s or plant’s DNA

clone

verb

to create an animal or plant in a laboratory that is an exact copy of another using the original animal’s or plant’s DNA

cloning

noun

the process of creating an animal or plant in a laboratory that is an exact copy of another using the original animal’s or plant’s DNA

cross

verb

to combine one breed of animal with another, or to mix one type of plant with another, in order to produce an animal or plant that is genetically different from both parents

cross-fertilise

a British spelling of cross-fertilize

cross-fertilization

noun

the process of fertilizing one type of plant with pollen from a different type of plant in order to produce a new genetic mix

cross-fertilize

verb

to fertilize one type of plant with pollen from a different type of plant in order to produce a new genetic mix

deoxyribonucleic acid

DNA

DNA

noun

deoxyribonucleic acid: a chemical substance that contains genetic information and is found in all living cells and some viruses

DNA fingerprinting

noun

the scientific examination of someone’s DNA to find out whether they are someone’s father, whether they have committed a crime etc

dominant

adjective

a dominant gene causes someone to be born with particular genetic features, even if it is only present in one parent

double helix

noun

the DNA molecule that consists of two chains of nucleotides and has a shape like a twisted ladder

gene

noun

a pattern of chemicals within a cell that carries information about the qualities passed to a living thing from its parents

gene pool

noun

the total of all the genes within a species (=a group of animals or plants)

gene therapy

noun

a medical treatment in which genes are put into cells in the body in order to cure some types of illness

genetic

adjective

relating to genes, or to the study of genes

genetically modified

adjective

a genetically modified plant or animal has had its genetic structure changed in order to make it more suitable for a particular purpose

genetic code

noun

the arrangement of genes that makes an individual develop in a particular way

genetic engineering

noun

the practice or science of adding genes to a living thing, especially in order to make it more suitable for a particular purpose

genetic fingerprinting

noun

a method of examining someone’s DNA (=genetic structure) which is individual to them and not shared by anyone else

geneticist

noun

a scientist who studies or works in genetics

genetic modification

noun

genetic engineering

genetic profiling

noun

the scientific examination of DNA from body cells, especially in order to find out who committed a crime

genetics

noun

the study of how the individual features and behaviour of living things are passed on through their genes

genetic screening

noun

the practice of examining someone’s genes in order to find out what illnesses may be likely to affect them

genome

noun

the total amount of genetic information in the chromosomes of a living thing, including its genes and DNA

genotype

noun

a living thing considered as the set of genes that it has, rather than what it looks like, how big it is etc

GM

adjective

genetically modified: used for describing crops whose genes have been changed to give them particular qualities, or for describing foods made from them

GM

adjective

connected with the production of GM crops or foods

GMO

noun

genetically modified organism: a plant or animal whose genes have been changed to give it a particular quality that it would not normally have

hard-wired

adjective

behaviour that is hard-wired is caused by your genes and the way that your brain is made, rather than learnt from experience

hereditary

adjective

a hereditary disease or quality is passed from a parent to a child in their genes

heredity

noun

the genetic process by which particular characteristics or diseases are passed on

heterozygous

adjective

a heterozygous cell or organism has two different forms of a particular gene for something such as eye colour

homozygous

adjective

a homozygous cell or organism has two of the same form of a particular gene for something such as eye colour

inherit

verb

to be born with a gene that causes a particular biological characteristic to be passed on

inheritance

noun

the process by which characteristics are passed to a living thing from its parents through their genes

inherited

adjective

an inherited disease or quality is one that is passed on through the genes

locus

noun

the position of a gene on a chromosome

mutagen

noun

a substance that produces a genetic mutation

mutant

noun

a plant or animal that is different from others of its type as a result of a change in its genes

mutate

verb

to become physically different from other plants or animals of the same type as a result of a genetic change

mutation

noun

a change in the genes of a plant or animal that causes it to become different from others of its type

pass on

to give something such as a disease to your children through your genes

recessive

adjective

a recessive gene is one that needs to be present in both parents in order to produce a particular feature or quality in a child

reproductive cloning

noun

the process of creating in a laboratory a human or animal that is an exact copy of another, using the DNA of the original human or animal

sequence

noun

the order in which the parts of a molecule or gene are arranged

sequence

verb

to find out and record the order of the individual parts that make up a molecule, gene etc

sex chromosome

noun

a chromosome that controls what the sex of a living thing will be, for example the X-chromosomes and Y-chromosomes in humans and animals

therapeutic cloning

noun

the process of creating new organs or other body parts that a patient’s body will accept because they are made from cells that contain their own DNA

transgenic

adjective

a transgenic plant or animal contains genes from a different plant or animal that have been introduced using a laboratory technique

vector

noun

a very small part of a cell, used in genetic engineering for carrying genetic material from one cell to another

X-chromosome

noun

a type of chromosome (=genetic material in a cell) that decides what sex a human or animal will be. In humans, females have two X-chromosomes and males have one.

Y-chromosome

noun

a type of chromosome (=genetic material in a cell) that is only found in human or animal males

genetically

adverb

mutant

adjective

pre-cation

a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

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