CBC In Depth
INDEPTH: GENETICS AND REPRODUCTION
Glossary
Peter Hadzipetros and Charly Smith, CBC News Online
June 2000


Biotechnology
"the exploitation of biological processes for industrial and other purposes."

Chromosomes
"one of the threadlike structures, usually found in the cell nucleus, that carry the genetic information in the form of genes."

DNA
"the self-replicating material which is present in nearly all living organisms, esp. as a constituent of chromosomes, and is the carrier of genetic information."
A DNA molecule consists of two strands which wrap around each other like a twisted ladder. The sides of the DNA ladder are made of sugar and phosphate molecules and are connected by rungs of nitrogen-containing chemicals called bases.

Much like the alphabet DNA consists of four letters or four bases. The four bases of DNA are as follows:

A – adenine
T – thymine
C – cytosine
G – guanine

The entire DNA code holds over 5-billion A, T, C, and G's.

Between the base and the strand there is a weak bond to hold the two parts together. This is called a base pair.

Gene
"a unit of heredity composed of DNA or RNA and forming part of a chromosome etc� that determines a particular characteristic of an individual."

Genetic Code
"�the means by which genetic information is stored as sequences of nucleotide bases in the chromosonal DNA."

Gene mapping
"�the determination of a gene's location on a chromosome."

Genome
"a single set of chromosomes of an organism. The genetic material of an organism."

A human genome is estimated to be comprised of more than 100,000 genes. The human genome has over 3-billion sub-units which are organised into 23 distinct, physically separate microscopic units called chromosomes.



Source for definitions: The Canadian Oxford English Dictionary




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