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Glossary

An alphabetical glossary of technical terms used on the site.

Gamete

Male or female reproductive cells - a sperm or egg.

Gangrene

A condition where tissues dies due to lack of blood flow, which is often followed by infection.

Gas chromatograph

A laboratory instrument used to separate and analyse chemicals in a sample.

Gastroenteritis

An inflammation of the stomach and intestine that can cause cramping, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

Gel electrophoresis

A laboratory technique used to separate molecules, such as DNA, RNA and proteins, according to their size and charge.

Gene

A piece of DNA that carries the information needed to make a specific protein.

Gene cloning

Making an exact copy (or multiple copies) of a gene or introducing a sequence of DNA into a vector.

Gene discovery

Identifying gene sequences for specific traits.

Gene expression

The use of a gene to make a protein. Involves transcription of the DNA sequence into RNA, and translation of the RNA into an amino acid sequence (or protein).

Gene gun

A laboratory tool used to propel (or shoot) a gene (or other piece of DNA) into a cell at high energy. The aim is that the target cell will incorporate the new DNA and start using it.

Gene sequencing

Determining the order (or sequence) of the DNA bases (A, G, C, or T) that make up a specific gene.

Gene variant

A sequence in the genetic code that differs between people.

Gene variants

Versions of the same gene from a particular organism, which differ somewhat in DNA sequence.

Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering (GE) is any process that changes the genetic material of an organism (plant, animal, bacteria or virus) in order to make it capable of producing new substances or performing new or different functions.

Genetic locus

The location of a gene or DNA sequence on a chromosome (plural: loci).

Genetic makeup

A specific DNA pattern obtained by a scientific process, which reflects the unique DNA sequence found in a living organism.

Genetic marker test

A test to see if an organism has a particular gene. The test uses markers – short unique segments of DNA that always associate with the gene.

Genetic modification

Genetic modification (GM) is any process that changes the genetic material of an organism (plant, animal, bacteria or virus) in order to make it capable of producing new substances or performing new or different functions.

Genetic mutation

A base change in the DNA strand.

Genetic profile

A specific DNA pattern obtained by a scientific process, which reflects the unique DNA sequence found in a living organism.

Genetically modified

An organism (plant, animal, bacterium or virus) whose genome has been altered by human intervention. Alterations can include the addition or deletion of DNA sequences and the introduction of DNA sequence changes.

Genetically modified organism

A genetically modified organism (or GMO) is an organism (plant, animal, bacteria or virus) that has had its genetic material altered.

Genetics

The unique sequence of bases in an organisms DNA.

Genome

The genetic material of an organism (from gene + chromosome).

Genomic selection

The simultaneous use of thousands of DNA markers to estimate the breeding value of an individual.

Genomics

The study of sets of genes and their interactions.

Genotype

(Noun) The genetic information, or DNA sequence, of an individual organism.
(Verb) To identify DNA sequence information.

Genus

A group of closely related species.

Geothermal

Heat energy from inside the Earth.

Germ cell

Cells giving rise to the gametes (eggs and sperm in animals, ovules and pollen in plants).

Germplasm

A set of genetic resources for an organism. Living tissue from which new plants can be grown.

Glucose

A simple sugar or monosaccharide.

Glycaemic

The effect a food has on blood glucose over a period of time.

Glycaemic index

A measure of the speed with which glucose is released from a food.

Glycaemic load

A measure of the speed with which glucose is released from a food that takes is adjusted for the serving size of the food.

Gonad

Sexual organ (testes and ovaries in animals).

Good manufacturing practice (GMP)

Regulations that describe the methods, equipment, facilities and controls that manufacturers must use when making food or drugs.

Gout

A painful inflammation of the joints caused by build up of uric acid in the blood.

Greenhouse effect

The process in which gases in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun and warm the Earth.

Greenhouse gas

A natural or manmade gas that traps heat in the Earth's atmosphere and contributes to the greenhouse effect. Examples include water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Gross domestic product

The total value of goods and services produced by a country in one year.

Growth medium

The nutrient-rich environment in which bacteria, yeasts, algae, or specific cell or tissue types are grown in a laboratory environment.

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