Glossary

B

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a broad discipline in which biological processes, organisms, cells or cellular components are exploited to develop new technologies. New tools and products developed are useful in research, agriculture, industry and medicine.
(see Life Sciences)

C

are fundamental working units of every human being. All the instructions required to direct their activities are contained within the chemical deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA.

Cell

CRISPR

a gene editing technique to identify and modify specific DNA sequences in the genome of other organisms by cutting and replacing DNA.
stands for
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats
It is a natural process found in single-celled organism (bacteria and archaea), which was updated/manipulated by humans to be used as gene editing technique.

D

DNA

is the information database of a cell that is contained inside the cell nucleus.
 
This DNA carries the genetic blueprint that is used to make all the proteins the cell needs. DNA exists in the form of two long, paired strands that form a double helix.
 
There are four fundamental types of bases that comprise DNA – commonly abbreviated as A, C, G, and T (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine).

E

Epigenetics

the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.
 
Environmental factors, age and lifestyle can cause genes to be silenced or expressed over time. In other words, parts of the DNA sequence is read differently, being turned off or turned on dependant on environmental factors. 
 
Analogy by Nessa Carey: “Think of the human lifespan as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script — instructions for all the participants of the movie to perform their roles. Subsequently, the DNA sequence would be the words on the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes. The concept of genetics would be like screenwriting. Follow the analogy so far? Great. The concept of epigenetics, then, would be like directing. The script can be the same, but the director can choose to eliminate or tweak certain scenes or dialogue, altering the movie for better or worse. After all, Steven Spielberg’s finished product would be drastically different than Woody Allen’s for the same movie script, wouldn’t it?”

G

Genome

An organism’s complete set of genetic instructions. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.

Gene/Genome Editing

Genome editing is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism's DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome.

Gene Expression

Gene expression is the generation of a functional gene product from the information encoded by a gene, through the processes of transcription and translation. 
Gene products are often proteins, however non-protein coding genes can encode functional RNA, including ribosomal RNA (rRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) or small nuclear RNA (snRNA).

L

Life Sciences

The life sciences or biological sciences comprise the branches of science that involve the scientific study of life and organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, and animals including human beings. Life science is one of the two major branches of natural science, the other being physical science, which is concerned with non-living matter.
 

O

Optogenetics

Optogenetics is a method that uses light to modulate molecular events in a targeted manner in living cells or organisms. It relies on the use of genetically-encoded proteins that change conformation in the presence of light to alter cell behaviour, for example, by changing the membrane voltage potential of excitable cells.