Biotechnology and gene technologies definitions

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Recombinant DNA
A section of DNA, often in the form of a plasmid, which is formed by joining DNA sections from two different sources
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Coding DNA
Small parts of the genome (1.5%) that actually directly code for polypeptides.
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Non-coding DNA
Do not code for polypeptides. Have been referred to as "junk DNA" but this is misleading as they are thought to carry out a number of regulatory functions yet to be discovered.
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The study of the whole set of genetic information in the form of DNA base sequences that occur in the cells of organisms of a particular species.
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DNA profiling (genetic fingerprinting)
Technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles. It can also be used in paternity and maternity testing, and in identifying genetic diseases
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Genomic sequencing
Technique used to give the base sequence of DNA of a particular organism
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Restriction enzyme
An enzyme originally derived from a bacterium that catalyses a hydrolysis reaction, breaking the sugar-phosphate backbone of the DNA double helix. These are usually broke at slightly different points, leaving sticky ends with unique restriction sites
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Vector (in DNA technology)
The agent that carries a piece of DNA from one cell into another e.g. a bacterial plasmid
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An organism that contains a gene from another species
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Sticky end
A 'staggered cut' of exposed bases left by a restriction enzyme at a restriction site
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DNA ligase
A specific type of enzyme, a ligase, that facilitates the joining of DNA strands together, by catalysing the formation of a phosphodiester bond
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Genetic engineering
Branch of biotechnology characterised by the obtaining of a particular gene, either by removal from a donor organism's genome by restriction enzymes, or manufacture (using reverse transcriptase). Each restriction site is unique.
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Gene therapy
Any therapeutic technique where the functioning allele of a particular gene is placed in the cells of an individual lacking functional alleles of that particular gene. Can only be used for recessive conditions.
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Short runs of repetitive sequences of 3-4 base pairs found in several thousand locations on the genome.
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Comparative gene mapping
Allows us to compare the sequence of bases of genes that code for proteins across a range of organisms
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Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes
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A small piece of tissue removed from a plant in order to be artificially cloned
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Reproductive cloning
used to make a complete organism that is genetically identical to another organism
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Non-reproductive cloning
used to make embryonic stem cells that are genetically identical to another organism
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Stem cell
A cell that is able to divide and form differentiated cells
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Embryonic stem cell
Stem cells taken from the blastocyst- up to 7 day old embryo
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Able to form every kind of cell (from embryonic stem cells)
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Able to form most of the different cell types
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Facultative anaerobe
Can grow with or without oxygen, however grows better with oxygen
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Obligate anaerobe
Strictly anaerobic
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Obligate aerobe
Strictly aerobic
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Coding DNA


Small parts of the genome (1.5%) that actually directly code for polypeptides.

Card 3


Non-coding DNA


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Card 5


DNA profiling (genetic fingerprinting)


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