Translation glossary: AN AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL BIOTECHNOLOGY ANNOTATED DICTIONARY

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Abiotic stressOutside (nonliving) factors which can cause harmful effects to plants, such as soil conditions, drought, extreme temperatures. 
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AbzymeSee Catalytic antibody. 
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Adaptive radiationThe evolution of new species or sub- species to fill unoccupied ecological niches. 
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AerobeA microorganism that grows in the presence of oxygen 
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Agarose gel electrophoresisA matrix composed of a highly purified form of agar that is used to separate larger DNA and RNA molecules ranging 20,000 nucleotides 
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AllelesAlternate forms of a gene or DNA sequence, which occur on either of two homologous chromosomes in a diploid organism 
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Alternative mRNA splicingThe inclusion or exclusion of different exons to form different mRNA transcripts 
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Amino acidAny of 20 basic building blocks of proteins-- composed of a free amino (NH2) end, a free carboxyl (COOH) end, and a side group (R). 
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Ampicillin (beta-lactamase)An antibiotic derived from penicillin that prevents bacterial growth by interfering with cell wall synthesis. 
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AmplifyTo increase the number of copies of a DNA sequence, in vivo by inserting into a cloning vector that replicates within a host cell, or in vitro by poly 
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AnaerobeAn organism that grows in the absence of oxygen 
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AnnealThe pairing of complementary DNA or RNA sequences, via hydrogen bonding, to form a double-stranded polynucleotide 
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Anti-oncogeneSee Recessive oncogene. 
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AntibioticA class of natural and synthetic compounds that inhibit the growth of or kill other microorganisms 
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Antibiotic resistanceThe ability of a microorganism to produce a protein that disables an antibiotic or prevents transport of the antibiotic into the cell. 
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AntibodyAn immunoglobulin protein produced by B- lymphocytes of the immune system that binds to a specific antigen molecule 
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AnticodonA nucleotide base triplet in a transfer RNA molecule that pairs with a complementary base triplet, or codon, in a messenger RNA molecule 
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AntigenAny foreign substance, such as a virus, bacterium, or protein, that elicits an immune response by stimulating the production of antibodies 
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Antigenic determinantA surface feature of a microorganism or macromolecule, such as a glycoprotein, that elicits an immune response. 
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Antigenic switchingThe altering of a microorganism\'s surface antigens through genetic rearrangement, to elude detection by the host\'s immune system. 
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Antimicrobial agentAny chemical or biological agent that harms the growth of microorganisms. 
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Antisense RNAA complementary RNA sequence that binds to a naturally occurring (sense) mRNA molecule, thus blocking its translation 
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Asexual reproductionNonsexual means of reproduction which can include grafting and budding. 
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AutosomeA chromosome that is not involved in sex determination. 
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BacillusA rod-shaped bacterium. 
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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)A bacterium that kills insects; a major component of the microbial pesticide industry. 
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BackcrossCrossing an organism with one of its parent organisms. 
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BacteriocideA class of antibiotics that kills bacterial cells. 
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Bacteriophage (phage or phage particle)A virus that in- fects bacteria 
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BacteriostatA class of antibiotics that prevents growth of bacterial cells. 
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BacteriumA single-celled, microscopic prokaryotic organism: a single cell organism without a distinct nucleus. 
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Base pair (bp)A pair of complementary nitrogenous bases in a DNA molecule--adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine 
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beta-DNAThe normal form of DNA found in biological systems, which exists as a right-handed helix 
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beta-LactamaseAmpicillin resistance gene 
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BioaugmentationIncreasing the activity of bacteria that decompose pollutants; a technique used in bioremediation. 
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BiodiversityThe wide diversity and interrelatedness of earth organisms based on genetic and environmental factors. 
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BioenrichmentAdding nutrients or oxygen to increase microbial breakdown of pollutants. 
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BiofilmsSee Microbial mats. 
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BiologicsAgents, such as vaccines, that give immunity to diseases or harmful biotic stresses. 
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BiomassThe total dry weight of all organisms in a particular sample, population, or area. 
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BioremediationThe use of microorganisms to remedy environmental problems 
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BiotechnologyThe scientific manipulation of living organ- isms, especially at the molecular genetic level, to produce useful products 
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Biotic stressLiving organisms which can harm plants , such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria, and harmful insects 
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bPSee Base pair. 
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BtSee Bacillus thuringiensis. 
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CapsidSee Coat protein. 
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CarcinogenA substance that induces cancer. 
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CarcinomaA malignant tumor derived from epithelial tissue, which forms the skin and outer cell layers of internal organs. 
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CatalystA substance that promotes a chemical reaction by lowering the activation energy of a chemical reaction, but which itself remains unaltered at the end 
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Catalytic antibody (abzyme)An antibody selected for its ability to catalyze a chemical reaction by binding to and stabilizing the transition state intermediate. 
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