Member of the mammalian order primates, includes prosimians, monkeys apes and humans, defined by a suite of anatomical and behavioral traits.
The study of humans as biological organisms, considered in an evolutionary framework; sometimes called physical anthropology.
A trait that increases the reproductive success of an organism, produced by natural selection in the context of a particular environment.
A member of the primate family Homindae. Distinguished by bipedal posture and, in more recently evolved species, large brain.
The study of human kind in a cross cultural context. Anthropology includes the subfields cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology.
The sum total of learned traditions, values, and beliefs that groups of people (and a few species of highly intelligent animals) possess.
The study of the interaction between biology and culture, which plays a role in most human traits.
The study of human societies, especially in a cross cultural context; the sub division of anthropology that includes ethnology, archaeology, and linguistics.
The study of human societies, their traditions, rituals, beliefs, and the differences between societies in these traits.
The practice of cultural anthropology. Ethnographers study the minute-to-minute workings of human societies, especially non western societies.
the study of language, its origins, and use; also called anthropological linguistics.
subfield of biological anthropology dealing with human growth and development, adaption to environmental extremes, and human genetics.
the study of humans as biological organisms, considered in an evolutionary framework.
a preliminary explanation of a phenomenon. Hypothesis formation is the first step of the scientific method.
Standard scientific research procedure in which a hypothesis is state, data are collected to test it, and the hypothesis is either supported or refuted.
the scientific evidence produced by an experiment or by observation, from which scientific conclusions are made.
Linnaean naming system for all organisms, consisting of a genus and species label.
theory that there have been multiple creations interspersed by great natural disasters such as Noah's flood.
Theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics
Discredited theory of evolutionary change proposing that changes that occur during the lifetime of an individual, through use or disuse can be passed on to the next generation.
Theory that the same gradual geological process we observe today was operating in the past.
an alteration in the DNA that may or may not alter the function of a cell. If it occurs in a gamete, it may be passed from one generation to the next.
a creationist school of thought that proposes that natural selection cannot account for the diversity and complexity of form and function seen in nature.
a diagram used in the study of human genetics that shows the transmission of a genetic trait over generation of a family.
single-celled organisms, such as bacteria, in which the genetic material is not separated from the rest of the cell by a nucleus.
in eukaryotic cells, the part of the cell in which the genetic material is separated from the rest of the cell (cytoplasm) by a plasma membrane.
in a eukaryotic cell, the region within the cell membrane that surrounds the nucleus; it contains organelles, which carry out the essential functions of the cell, such as energy production, metabolism, and protein synthesis.
undifferentiated cells found in the developing embryo that can be induced to differentiate into a wide variety of cell types or tissues. Also found in adults, although adult stem cells are not as totipotent as embryonic stem cells.
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
a double-stranded molecule that is the carrier of genetic information. Each strand is composed of a linear sequence of nucleotides; the two strands are held together by hydrogen bonds that form between complementary bases.
complex molecules formed from chains of amino acids (polypeptide) or form a complex of polypeptides. They function as structural molecules and transport molecules, antibodies, enzymes and hormones.
the assembly of proteins from amino acids that occurs at ribosomes in the cytoplasm and is based on information carried by mRNA.
ribonucleic acid (RNA)
Single-stranded nucleic acid that performs critical functions during protein synthesis and comes in three forms: messenger RNA, transfer RNA, and ribosomal RNA.
organelles in the cytoplasm of the cell where energy production for the cell takes place. Contains its own DNA.
structures composed primarily of RNA that are found on the endoplasmic reticulum. They are the site of protein synthesis.
molecular building block of nucleic acids DNA and RNA; consists of a phosphate, sugar and a base.
variable component of the nucleotides that form the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. In DNA, the bases are adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine. In RNA, uracil replaces thymine.
a natural substance (often a protein) produced by specialized cells in one location of the body that influences that activity or physiology of cells in a different location.
the system whereby the nucleotide triplets in DNA and RNA contain the information for synthesizing proteins from the twenty amino acids.
a triplet of nucleotide bases in mENA that specifies an amino acid or the initiation or termination of a polypeptide sequence.
the fundamental unit of heredity. Consists of a sequence of DNA bases that carries the information for synthesizing a protein (or polypeptide), and occupies a specific chromosomal locus.
messenger RNA (mRNA)
strand of RNA synthesized in the nucleus as a complement to a specific gene (transcription). It carries the information for the sequence of amino acids to make a specific protein into the cytoplasm, where at a ribosome it is read and a protein molecule synthesized (translation)
transfer RNA (tRNA)
RNA molecules that bind to specific amino acids and transport them to ribosomes to be used during protein synthesis.
somatic cell division in which a single cell divides to produce two identical daughter cells.
cell division that occurs in the testes and ovaries that leads to the formation of sperm and ova (gametes).
condensed and constricted region of a chromosome. During mitosis and meiosis, location where sister chromatids attach to one another.
full complement of paired chromosome in a somatic cell. In humans, the diploid number is 46 (23 pairs of different chromosomes).
the number of chromosome found in a gamete, representing one from each pair found in a diploid somatic cell. In humans, the haploid number is 23.
members of the same pair of chromosomes (or autosomes). homologous chromosomes undergo crossing over during meiosis.
the location of a gene on a chromosome. the locus for a gene is identified by the number of the chromosome on which it is found and its position on the chromosome.
Alternative versions of a gene. different alleles are distinguished from one another by their different effects on the phenotypic expression of the same gene.
having the same allele at the loci for a gene on both members of a pair of homologous chromosome (or autosomes).
having two different alleles at the loci for a gene on a pair of homologous chromosomes (or autosomes).
exchange of genetic material between homologous chromosome during the first prophase of meiosis; mechanism for genetic recombination.
the rearrangement of genes on homologous chromosomes that occurs during crossing over in meiosis. source of variation arising out of sexual reproduction; important for increasing rates of natural selection.
the complete chromosomal complement of an individual; usually based on a photograph of the chromosomes visualized under the microscope.
the failure of homologous chromosomes (chromatids) to separate properly during cell division. When it occurs during meiosis, it may lead to the formation of gametes that are missing a chromosome or have an extra copy of a chromosome.
polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Method for amplifying DNA sequences using the Taq polymerase enzyme. Can potentially produce millions or billions of copies of a DNA segment starting from a very small number of target DNA.
mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
Small loop of DNA found in the mitochondria. It is clonal and maternally inherited.