Animal Aid

Man or Mouse

References

Mouse
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Glossary

Amino Acid
The building blocks of polypeptides and proteins.

Blastocyst
An early stage embryo (typically a few days after fertilisation), taking the form of a hollow ball of cells.

Cell
The smallest unit of living matter that can function independently. Microscopic fluid compartments containing a concentrated solution of chemicals, along with various structures that help the cell to stay alive, replicate and perform its necessary functions.

Chimaera
An individual organism whose constituent cells do not have an identical genetic constitution.

Chromosome
A long and continuous thread of DNA containing many genes.

Clone
An individual grown from a single cell of another, and genetically virtually identical to it

Cloning
The process whereby identical individual molecules (e.g. DNA) or virtually identical organisms (clones) are produced.

DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid. The chemical constituent of chromosomes, made up of long chains of four different 'nucleotides,' in the form a double helix

Embryonic Stem Cell
Cells from an early-stage developing embryo, that are able to differentiate into any type of specialised cell (e.g. liver, muscle, nerve etc)

Enzyme
Any protein that affects the rate at which a biochemical reaction is carried out

Gene
A specific section of DNA on a chromosome, coding for a particular chain of amino-acids known as a 'polypeptide.' Can be 'Structural' or 'Regulatory ' . Genetically Modified Animals Animals whose DNA has been artificially manipulated. This includes clones, mutants and transgenic animals.

Genome
The entire genetic complement of a living organism.

In Vitro
Literally, 'in glass.' In research, this term refers to experiments conducted in test-tubes and plastic flasks etc., rather than 'In Vivo' or in living animals.

Knock-outs
Organisms with one or more genes disabled via the insertion and/or deletion of segments of 'foreign' DNA.

Knock-ins
Organisms containing a fully functioning 'foreign' gene

Mutagenesis
The process of causing genetic changes in individuals that alter or disrupt gene function.

Nucleotide
One of the four molecules that form the basic structural units of DNA.

Nucleus
Defined and bounded region of a cell, containing the cell's genetic material in the form of chromosomes made from DNA.

Phenotype
The observable properties of an organism resulting from the function of its genes, and their interaction with the environment.

Polypeptide
A chain of amino-acids linked by 'peptide' chemical bonds (hence the name), encoded by a gene. See 'Protein.'

Protein
Composed of a chain (or chains) of amino-acids, i.e. one or more polypeptides, with a defined '3D' complex structure that defines its biological function.

Regulatory Gene
Regulatory genes control the expression of structural and other regulatory genes, increasing and decreasing their levels of activity or turning them 'on' or 'off' completely.

RNA
Ribonucleic acid. Similar in structure, but not identical to, DNA. It is responsible for many biological functions, including a role as an intermediary in the production of proteins from DNA.

Structural Gene
Structural genes code for proteins that 'make up' our bodies; that build our cells and organs, and that form enzymes that carry out chemical reactions vital for life. See also 'Regulatory genes.'

Transcription
The first part of 'gene expression.' This is the process whereby an RNA 'copy' of DNA is produced, acting as an intermediate molecule in the production of a polypeptide/protein.

Transgene
A 'foreign' gene introduced into a new 'host' organism.

Transgenesis
The process whereby a foreign 'transgene' is assembled and introduced into a new 'host' organism.

Translation
The second main part of 'gene expression,' after transcription.This is the process whereby an RNA copy of a gene is used as a template to produce a polypeptide/protein made from amino-acids.

Virus
A sub-microscopic infectious agent, composed of a protein 'coat' containing DNA or RNA, that can 'infect' living cells and reproduce inside them.

Xenotransplantation
A process whereby organs from one species are transplanted into the bodies of another species, for example pig hearts into baboons.

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