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B

Backcross
A cross between an animal that is heterozygous for alleles obtained from two parental strains and a second animal from one of those parental strains. Also used to describe the breeding protocol of an outcross followed by a backcross.
See also: model organisms

Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)
A vector used to clone DNA fragments (100- to 300-kb insert size; average, 150 kb) in Escherichia coli cells. Based on naturally occurring F-factor plasmid found in the bacterium E. coli.
See also: cloning vector

Bacteriophage
See: phage

Barbering
A common, generally harmless, behavior where a dominant mouse chews off the fur of a subordinate mouse.

Barbiturates
General anesthetic agents that produce unconcsiousness (e.g., pentobarbital, thiopental).

Base
One of the molecules that form DNA and RNA molecules.
See also: nucleotide, base pair, base sequence

Base pair (bp)
Two nitrogenous bases (adenine and thymine or guanine and cytosine) held together by weak bonds. Two strands of DNA are held together in the shape of a double helix by the bonds between base pairs.

Base sequence
The order of nucleotide bases in a DNA molecule; determines structure of proteins encoded by that DNA.

Base sequence analysis
A method, sometimes automated, for determining the base sequence.

Behavioral genetics
The study of genes that may influence behavior.

injection needle bevel

Bevel
The sloping edge or surface of a needle, i.e., as in performing an injection "bevel up"..

Bioinformatics
The science of managing and analyzing biological data using advanced computing techniques. Especially important in analyzing genomic research data.

Also referred to as computational biology, it involves the use of quantitative techniques, such as applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, chemistry, and biochemistry to solve biological problems, usually on the molecular level. Research in computational biology often overlaps with systems biology.

Major research efforts in the biotechnology include sequence analysis, genome annotation, computational evolutionary biology, measuring biodiversity, analysis of gene expression, analysis of regulation, analysis of protein expression, analysis of mutations in cancer, prediction of protein structure, comparative genomics, modeling biological systems, high-throughput image analysis and rotein-protein docking.
See also: Bioinformatics article, informatics

Bioremediation
The use of biological organisms such as plants or microbes to aid in removing hazardous substances from an area.

Biotechnology
A set of biological techniques developed through basic research and now applied to research and product development. In particular, biotechnology refers to the use by industry of recombinant DNA, cell fusion, and new bioprocessing techniques.

The United Nations Organization, in the Convention on Biological Diversity, defines biotechnology as any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.

Biotechnology has contributed towards the exploitation of biological organisms or biological processes through modern techniques, which could be profitably used in medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry and environmental cloning.

The term encompasses a wide range and history of procedures for modifying biological organisms, going back to the initial modifications of native plants into improved food crops through artificial selection and hybridization.

The science upon which all biotechnological applications are based is called bioengineering.

The term biotechnology is now often used to refer to genetic the engineering technology of the 21st century.

Birth defect
Any harmful trait, physical or biochemical, present at birth, whether a result of a genetic mutation or some other nongenetic factor.
See also: congenital, gene, mutation, syndrome

Blanch
To become pale.

BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool)
A computer program that searches for sequence similarities. It can be used to identify homologous (similar) genes in different organisms, such as human, fruit fly, or nematode.


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