The principles, conventions, and terms used to systematically classify biological information, entities, processes, but also subfields of biology.

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30
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6answers
4k views

Why isn't a virus “alive”?

The recent news about a new supermassive virus being discovered got me thinking about how we define viruses as non-living organisms whilst they are bigger than bacteria, and much more complex than we ...
23
votes
3answers
63k views

What is the difference between orthologs, paralogs and homologs?

These three terms are often misused in the literature. Many researchers seem to treat them as synonyms. So, what is the definition of each of these terms and how do they differ from one another?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between male and female?

As long as we only look at humans the differences are clear: males have chromosomes XY, produce sperm and don't get pregnant. Females have chromosomes XX, produce egg cells and bear babies. But when ...
11
votes
1answer
117 views

To which distinctions does the term “hymenoptera” refer?

Hymenoptera is an order of insects that includes bees, ants, and wasps. A quick search gives the following etymological analysis of the term hymenoptera. hymen (membrane) + pteron (wing) Does ...
10
votes
2answers
498 views

When writing about past research should I use the species name they employed or the modern version?

I am currently writing a literature review in which I am talking about the old research on the subject. When this research was carried out the species I'm talking about were classed under a different ...
10
votes
1answer
649 views

Dreadnoughtus: Why are new taxa named using Dog Latin?

Once upon a time, binomial nomenclature was expected to follow Latin rules: the genus had to be a noun and the species had to be an adjective that agreed with the genus according to Latin rules of ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are plants referred to by their Latin species names, and not by their popular names?

Often the names of herbal ingredients in certain cosmetics products are given by their scientific names like Anthemis nobilis instead of chamomile or Lavandula angustifolia instead of lavender. Is ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Does the use of “var”, “x”, and/or “ssp” in a scientific name provide specific information?

What exactly does it mean when a plant has a scientific name that specifies a vairety, for example Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides, or when the name includes an "x", as in Populus ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the name of the fibrous strands that hold the seeds in a pumpkin?

If you cut open a pumpkin, the seeds are suspended inside the pumpkin by some fibrous, slimey strands. You can see them in the middle of this sliced-open pumpkin: I'm writing a post for the ...
8
votes
1answer
72 views

Cockroach-like insect identification

I just saw an insect in my room, and I have never seen anything like it ever before. I captured a photo, please see if you can identify it. It has got quite unique colours on its exodermis and it has ...
8
votes
2answers
129 views

Does the word “polymorphism” refer to the gene, the phenotype, or both?

In genetics, does the word "polymorphism" properly refer to genes, to phenotypes, or both? For example, if there are two alleles that lead to differences in the structure of the D2 neuroreceptor, ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Gene & Protein nomenclature: N-Myc, c-Myc, et. al

Can someone explain (or point me to an explanation of) exactly what is meant by all the different symbols I see used for writing genes and proteins? I think I know that for genes, we use an italic ...
7
votes
1answer
308 views

Linkage and LD: quantitative or qualitative?

My understanding is that the concept "genetic linkage" can be expressed in quantitative form, like: A predisposing gene X was found in close genetic linkage to Y. ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

Which species were first described by Charles Darwin?

There are many plants and animals named for the naturalist Charles Darwin, such as Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), but which were named by him? I'm finding it difficult to find such a list.
6
votes
3answers
275 views

What is called the “area size that an animal usually lives in”?

What is called the "area size that an animal usually lives in" or "needs for a normal life"? Is there any specific term?
6
votes
1answer
854 views

Why does DNA have its name?

Why is DNA called deoxyribonucleic acid and not something else? I get the nucleic acid part (because that's what DNA is made of) but what about the deoxyribo- part, especially the ribo- part. Maybe ...
6
votes
1answer
129 views

On which date did the official name change of Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis change?

When did the change of official name from Lactobacillus sanfrancisco to Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis happen? An answer ((to the exact day OR within a few days) AND the name of the conference at ...
6
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the proper format for genus and species names in latin?

When using the latin nomenclature for a fish in printed materials (such as Sander vitreus for walleye), what is the correct capitalization of each word? In this example, should 'S' be uppercase ...
5
votes
1answer
142 views

Why is it called “Ebola virus disease”, not just “Ebola” or “Ebola disease”?

Why do scientists (pretty consistently) call it Ebola virus disease, rather than just Ebola, or Ebola disease? Many other diseases are caused by viruses, but they don't seem to have this detail of ...
5
votes
2answers
560 views

Binomial nomenclature: Why am I seeing different genera with the same species name?

I have looked online but still do not understand how two organisms can have the the same species names but be in different genera? Do all genera share common species names? Also which would be more ...
5
votes
2answers
547 views

What does the 34/70 in Saccharomyces pastorianus Weihenstephan 34/70 stand for?

I've searched everywhere. No Wikipedia page. No information on NCBI. I searched all occurrences of 34/70 in some primary research articles! The best I've found is this brewery forum where someone ...
5
votes
1answer
191 views

What is a subspecies?

Within a species there may be subspecies that are named using trinomial nomenclautre. For example the Grizzly Bear, Ursus arctos horribilis is a subspecies of the Brown Bear Ursus arctos. The ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Are SLC52A2 and GPR172A really the same?

The official HUGO gene nomenclature page says that GPR172A (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate receptor) and SLC52A2 (riboflavin transporter, member 2) are the same. The sequence reported by Andriamampandry seems ...
5
votes
1answer
373 views

Formal definition of a 'genetic trait reservoir'?

I've read the tomato genome paper in Nature published recently, and they describe the tomato genetic resource as a rich trait reservoir that will provide biological ...
5
votes
1answer
36 views

Colorado potato beetle diet

The Colorado potato beetle is best known for being a potato pest. However, I've just learned that it originates from Northern America and the potato itself comes from South America. So the question ...
5
votes
1answer
53 views

Plural of “dibamus”

Migrated from English site. Dibamus is a genus of legless lizards in the family Dibamidae, of the infraorder Dibamia. Genera are usually given in singular, so what is the correct plural of ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there an organism which has a common English name which overlaps with another organism's scientific name (or vice versa?)

Many organisms have their common names identical to their scientific names. For example, there exist apes of the genus Gorilla known commonly as gorillas, and plants of the genus Delphinium known as ...
4
votes
1answer
155 views

Why do people in the scientific community use terminology such as renal, hepatic, cardiac instead of kidney, liver and heart? [closed]

Are there differences between renal, hepatic, cardiac and kidney, liver and heart? Is the "jargon" used more commonly because of tradition, or is there some definitive biological basis to it?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Polymorphism in cnidarians?

To me, the phenomenon of polymorphism in cnidarians is particularly troubling. I gather that it essentially refers to existence of various different forms or kinds of individuals, i.e. zooids and ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

What is the context in which a species gets the name “elegans”

Quite a lot of Latin binomials from different genera contain the same species name. For example, there are a number of that reflect the physical properties of the species (Tables have the latin name, ...
4
votes
2answers
85 views

Genetic networks vs genetic architectures?

What is the difference between the terms genetic network and genetic architecture? I've heard both in a variety of contexts used by different people, so I am interested in what people think they mean, ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

What was Protein G named after?

Protein G (the bacterial antibody binding protein) is often used to pulldown antibodies, for example in chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments. However, I was unable to find a site ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does Glutamine have the symbol Q?

Spent a half hour googling this and the best I could find was this: Now for some rhymes: Arginine = R. R we having fun yet? Asparagine = N The kNights of Ne say "Ne". Glutamine is a cute ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

How are atoms in benzopyridines and benzopurines numbered?

I am well-aware of the numbering system used for the traditional bases, as seen below. My question is how are the atoms in the size-expanded bases seen in xDNA and xRNA numbered?
3
votes
1answer
281 views

What does the root “phyllum” mean used botanical binomial nomenclature

I often encounter the root "phyllum" in bionomial names in botany, but I've had trouble finding an actual definition for this root in any Latin dictionary outside of its taxonomic meaning. From ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

what would be the scientific name of this variety of dove

recently i came across a small dove who had its feathers tied by a rubber band so that it $would'nt$ fly. it looks some what like this i was stunned by seeing it as i have never seen a dove in ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the definition of “dry weight” and “dry cell weight”?

As I understand it, the dry weight of something is its weight minus the weight of its water content. Is this the definition? What about dry cell weight?
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Neuromediator, Neuromodulator, Neurotransmitter?

Of these three words, perhaps Neurotransmitter is the most obvious. I took a look at Wikipedia page for Neuromodulation and found that this is pretty similar to Neurotransmitter too. I guess ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“Acellular” designation for organisms

Why do some biologists refer to single-celled organisms such as Amoeba and Paramecium as acellular (i.e., without cells) rather than unicellular (i.e., one cell)?
3
votes
1answer
202 views

Are corn kernels considered a grain

I have seen corn described as a seed, a grain and a fruit. What are the kernels or a corncob considered to be? A grain, a seed or a fruit?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Differences between Gradualism and Uniformitarianism

From what I understand, gradualism is the idea that small changes affect species over time. Uniformitarianism argues that the same processes that occurred in the past are the same as those in the ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

List of dinosaurs synonyms

Is there a comprehensive list of dinosaurs synonyms with indications of which name is now considered correct? Something like "there's no brontosaurus, there's only Apatosaurus", "there's no ...
2
votes
2answers
325 views

What are these strings used to describe animals?

For example, what's a $dt^{sz}$ hamster? (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1144494/). What's a Rgs9-Cre/+;gtROSA/+ mouse? ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

Why “broad” instead of “large” cross-immunoreactivity? [closed]

From the articles I read, expressions like "broad cross-immunoreactivity" pops up a lot. So, I was wondering, why "broad" is used here instead of large? Is there a specific reason?
2
votes
2answers
199 views

Is the tomato a very very close relative of the pepper?

I ask because if you look at a tomato, the way it grows on a vine, its color, the texture, and make up of its skin and internal structure it seems very much like a pepper. The only thing I can think ...
2
votes
4answers
185 views

Are there more descriptive ways of naming genes and gene interactions?

I couldn't help but notice just how non-descriptive the gene names that modern genetics is using. Currently I'm reading "The new science of Evo Devo" by Sean B. Carroll and here are some examples of ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

How to understand certain protein names

I am looking for a reference to help me understand what is meant by acronyms such as : H3K9me1, H3K9me2, and H3K9Ac. I know that these are all histone proteins, but is there a general nomenclature ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

Why are Oxyuranus snake species named Taipan?

It is interesting, why are Oxyuranus species called Taipan. The snakes are Australian but taipan looks like of Chinese origin word (it means big shot - important person).
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between 'Orbit' and 'Globe' in eye anatomy?

What's the difference between 'Orbit' and 'Globe' in eye's anatomy. Do they refer to the same ? I encountered this in this text: ... ciliary ganglion, which is approximately 3 mm in size, and ...
2
votes
2answers
739 views

translation of scientific names [closed]

I am trying to determine the "translated" meanings (not seeking the common names) of different insects, (presently some bees and wasps). Does anyone know of a printed or internet resource that ...