Programmed cell death. An orderly process by which cells self-destruct in an orderly fashion after a certain number of cell divisions, or if they cannot repair DNA damage.
Molecule (nucleotide derivative) found in all living cells and involved in energy transfer. When it is hydrolysed energy is released.
Pair of synapsed (joined) homologous chromosomes during prophase and metaphase of meiosis I.
The fundamental relationship between DNA, RNA and protein first outlined by Francis Crick in 1958.
The DNA strand encompassing a gene that carries the sequence identical to the message sequence.
A term applied to the genetic code that describes the fact that more than one triplet code is used to code for all amino acids other than tryptophan and methionine.
Genetic variation where there are distinct phenotypic categories. Usually controlled by one gene to a few genes. Examples include cystic fibrosis, shape of earlobes in humans and height in pea plants.
Characteristic in which the allele responsible is expressed in the phenotype even in those with heterozygous genotypes.
A change in the DNA within a gene involving the insertion or deletion of a number of bases that is not a multiple of three. This causes the downstream gene sequence to be scrambled because the correct reading frame is lost.
Specialised sex cells. In many organisms the gametes are haploid and are produced by meiosis.
A length of DNA that codes for one (or more) polypeptides/proteins. Some may code for RNA or regulate other genes.
The way in which the 64 possible base triplets map onto the 20 amino acids that are used in polypeptide chains.
Variation introduced due to the random orientation and subsequent segregation of maternal and paternal chromosomes during meiosis 1, or sister chromatids at meiosis 2.
A reference to the fact that normal body cells can only divide a finite number of times, normally about 50 mitotic divisions. In contrast, tumour cells are essentially immortal.
Homeotic selector genes
These direct the development of individual body segments. They are master genes that control other regulatory genes.
Groups of homeobox genes. More complex organisms have more such groups, probably due to a mutation that duplicated them.
The triplet code recognised by the ribosome that signals the start point for translation. Almost invariably a methionine codon (ATG).
A change in DNA sequence involving the introduction or loss of 1- 1000s of bases.
Structure formed on the centromere that attaches the chromosomes to the spindle fibres during mitosis and meiosis.
Type of nuclear division. A reduction division. The chromosome number is halved. It involves two divisions. It produces cells that are genetically different from each other and from the parent cell.
A change in DNA sequence that leads to a change in the amino acid sequence coded for by a gene.
A substance that controls the pattern of tissue development. It is produced in a particular region of a developing organism. It diffuses to other cells, which then enter a specific developmental pathway.
A mutation that even though it may change a coding sequence exerts no harmful or beneficial effects.
Failure of members of a homologous pair of chromosomes, or of a pair of chromatids, to separate during nuclear division.
A change in DNA sequence that introduces a premature stop codon within a DNA coding sequence.
A stretch of DNA consisting of two or more genes that are transcribed together and coregulated.
Member of a pair of homologous chromosomes that originally came from the male gamete.
Term to describe the engulfing by macrophages of vesicles from cells that have undergone apoptosis.
Refers to the location of cells with respect to the head end (anterior) or tail end (posterior) of the body.
A length of messenger RNA carrying multiple ribosomes at different stages of protein synthesis.
Macromolecule that is a polymer of many amino acids joined by peptide bonds. May comprise more than one polypeptide chains.
Gene that can undergo mutations to become an oncogene, which induces tumour formation (cancer).
Characteristic in which the allele responsible is only expressed in the phenotype if there is no dominant allele present.
Three types of RNA that form an important structural and functional role within the ribosome.
Genes that control the development of polarity within a body segment during development.
Production of new organisms involving fusion of nuclei from male and female gametes, usually from unrelated individuals. Increases genetic variation in the population.
A change in DNA sequence within a gene that does not lead to a change in the amino acid sequence due to the degeneracy of the genetic code.
Made of microtubules, these structures are responsible for providing the framework for segregation of the chromosomes during mitosis and meiosis.
One of three triplet codes (UGA, UAG or UAA) that causes the termination of translation by the ribosome.
Causes an expansion or contraction of a run of identical codons within a gene affecting the length of a run of identical amino acids in the polypeptide.
The DNA strand that is used for assembly of mRNA by RNA polymerase using base-pairing rules. Complementary to the message sequence.
The formation of an RNA molecule, using a length of DNA as a template and catalysed by RNA polymerase.
A short length of about 100 RNA nucleotides that adopts a clover leaf structure and carries an amino acid to the ribosome to be incorporated into a growing polypeptide chain.