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An alphabetical glossary of technical terms used on the site.


A material used in nanotechnology.


A particle that has at least one dimension of 100nm or less. Nanoparticles tend to have different properties to the same material at a larger size.


Technology developed using molecular scale components; one nanometre (nm) is equal to one millionth of a millimetre (mm).

Neurodegenerative disease

A disease that affects brain function, which is caused by the progressive deterioration of nerve cells.


The nerve and muscle systems of an animal’s body.


Nerve cell.


A type of white blood cell (immune cell) that forms a primary defence against infection. They can engulf and destroy foreign organisms.

New organism

Any organism that is coming into New Zealand for the first time. Examples include introduced or genetically modified organisms.

Nitrate leaching

The movement of nitrate from the soil into groundwater. This is an environmental concern because nitrate in groundwater can pollute streams.

Nitrogen cycle

The process by which nitrogen passes through the ecosystem.

Nobel Prize

An annual award for outstanding achievements in either physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics or the promotion of peace.

Non-coding DNA

DNA that is not made into protein.

Nuclear membrane

Membrane that encloses the genetic material of eukaryotic cells.


Plural of nucleus. An organelle in eukaryotic cells that contains most of a cells DNA.


The basic structural unit of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA. A nucleotide consists of a base (adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine or uracil), a sugar and a phosphate group.


A organelle in a eukaryotic cells that contains most of the cell’s DNA.


A food or food product that has health benefits.


The study of interactions between genes and food.

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