Biotech Definitions: "Biotech Definitions
BIO-INFOMATICS: Information technology applied to biology. Software programs that process information derived from biological systems such as DNA sequence, cell mages, protein crystal structures, etc.
BIOTECHNOLOGY: the tools and technology that are used to make products from biological systems (cheese making), carry out processes using biological substances (enzyme-based processing such as wine making), or to modify biological systems in order to improve performance or produce bio-materials (breeding, tissue culture, cloning, transgenics).
Bt and Bt TOXINS: Compounds present in the bacteria bacillus thuringensis that helps protect bacteria from insects. Genes encoding bt-toxins have been transferred to plants to confer protection from insects. Bt-toxins are not harmful to humans.
CHROMOSOME: The self-replicating genetic structure of cells containing the DNA that bears the linear array of genes.
CLONE: An exact copy made of biological material such as a DNA segment (a gene or other region), a whole cell, or a complete organism.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): The double-stranded molecule that encodes genetic information. It is made up of four different kinds of bases, which are abbreviated A, C, T, and G. A DNA fragment that is 10 bases long might have a sequence of, for example, ATCGTTCCTG. The particular sequence of bases encodes important information in an individual's genetic blueprint and is unique for each individual (except identical twins). The four bases are: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). In nature, base pairs form only between A and T and between G and C.
GENE: The fundamental unit of heredity. A gene is an ordered sequence located in a particular position on a particular chromosome that provides the code for a specific function or trait.
GENE EXPRESSION: The process by which a gene's coded information is converted into the structures present and operating in the cell.
GENE MAPPING: Determination of the relative positions of genes on a DNA molecule and in the genome.
GENETICS: The study of the patterns of inheritance of specific traits.
GENOME: All the genetic material in each organism.
GENOMIC SEQUENCE: The order of the DNA bases (A,C,G,T) that make up a particular fragment of DNA in a genome.
GMO: Genetically Modified Organism. Currently the label GMO and the term 'transgenic' are used to refer to organisms that have acquired novel genes from other organisms by laboratory 'gene transfer' methods. The term GMO is a poor label for transgenic organisms because all organisms are genetically modified. When a plant or animal species breeds with another one, genetic material is exchanged and results in the offspring. This can happen in the natural reproduction process or in a lab process.
rDNA (Recombinant DNA technology): Procedure used to cut and join together DNA segments in a cell-free system (an environment outside a cell or organism). Under appropriate conditions, a recombinant DNA molecule can enter a cell and replicate there, either autonomously or after it has become integrated into a cellular chromosome.
ROUNDUP READY: Roundup is a commercial chemical used to kill weeds. But since it kills many plants, producers have to be careful not to get it on the plants they want to grow. Some species of plants have been developed through biotechnology to have traits that protect them from Roundup.
TRANSGENIC: Taking genes from one species and inserting them into another species in order to get that trait expressed in the offspring. Usually when people say GMO, they really are referring to "transgenic" products."