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Vocab

Adenine

A component of nucleic acids, energy-carrying molecules such as ATP, and certain coenzymes. Chemically, it is a purine base

Buffer

A solution that minimizes changes in pH when extraneous acids or bases are added to the solution

Cytosine

A component of nucleic acids that carries hereditary information in DNA and RNA in cells. Chemically, it is a pyrimidine base

Gene

A discrete unit of hereditary information consisting of a specific nucleotide sequence in DNA (or RNA, in some viruses)

Guanine

A component of nucleic acids that carries hereditary information in DNA and RNA in cells. Chemically, it is a purine base

Helix

Something spiral in form

Histone

A small protein with a high proportion of positively charged amino acids that binds to the negatively charged DNA and plays a key role in its chromatin structure

Hydrogen bond

A type of weak chemical bond formed when the slightly positive hydrogen atom of a polar covalent bond in one molecule is attracted to the slightly negative atom of a polar covalent bond in another molecule

Lysis

A process of disintegration or dissolution (as of cells).

Model

A simplified version of something complex used, for example, to analyze and solve problems or make predictions

Nucleotide

A building block of DNA, consisting of a five-carbon sugar covalently bonded to a nitrogenous base and a phosphate group

Thymine

A component of nucleic acid that carries hereditary information in DNA in cells. Chemically, it is a pyrimidine base

Supernatant

The liquid on top of material deposited by settling or centrifugation

Amino group

A functional group that consists of a nitrogen atom bonded to two hydrogen atoms

Codon

A three-nucleotide sequence of DNA or mRNA that specifies a particular amino acid or termination signal; the basic unit of the genetic code

Exon

A coding region of a eukaryotic gene. Exons, which are expressed, are separated from each other by introns

Gene

A discrete unit of hereditary information consisting of a specific nucleotide sequence in DNA

Hydrophilic

Having an affinity for water

Hydrophobic

Having an aversion to water; tending to coalesce and form droplets in water

Hydroxyl group

A functional group consisting of a hydrogen atom joined to an oxygen atom by a polar covalent bond. Molecules possessing this group are soluble in water and are called alcohols

Intron

A non-coding, intervening sequence within a eukaryotic gene

Messenger RNA (mRNA)

A type of RNA, synthesized from DNA and attaches to ribosomes in the cytoplasm; it specifies the primary structure of a protein.

Mutation

A rare change in the DNA of a gene, ultimately creating genetic diversity

Nucleotide

The building block of a nucleic acid, consisting of a five-carbon sugar covalently bonded to a nitrogenous base and a phosphate group

Primary Structure

The level of protein structure referring to the specific sequence of amino acids

Quaternary Structure

The particular shape of a complex, aggregate protein, defined by the characteristic three-dimensional arrangement of its constituent subunits, each a polypeptide.

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)

A type of nucleic acid consisting of nucleotide monomers with a ribose sugar and the nitrogenous bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and uracil (U); usually single-stranded; functions in protein synthesis and as the genome of some viruses.

Ribosome

A cell organelle that functions as the site of protein synthesis in the cytoplasm; consists of ribosomal RNA and protein molecules, and is formed by combining two subunits

Secondary Structure

The localized, repetitive coiling or folding of the backbone of a protein due to hydrogen bond formation between amino acids

Tertiary Structure

Irregular contortions of a protein molecule due to interactions of side chains involved in hydrophobic interactions, ionic bonds, hydrogen bonds, and disulfide bridges

Transcription

The synthesis of RNA on a DNA template

Transfer RNA (tRNA)

An RNA molecule that functions as an interpreter between nucleic acid and protein language by picking up specific amino acids and recognizing the appropriate codons in the mRNA

Translation

The synthesis of a polypeptide using the genetic information encoded in an mRNA molecule. There is a change of language from nucleotides to amino acids

Dominant trait

A genetic trait is considered dominant if it is expressed in a person who has only one copy of the gene associated with the trait

Karyotype

A display of the chromosome pairs of a cell arranged by size and shape.

Mutation

Recessive trait

Polymerize

To undergo a chemical reaction in which two or more small molecules combine to form larger molecules that contain repeating structural units of the original molecules

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