How terms are used or the meaning of words as used in scientific literature. Questions should ideally include a link or quote as context for where the term was encountered.

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What is the term for toes that pull together with an upstep?

I fairly recently learned the term digitigrade, to describe the anatomy of a creature that stands on its toes rather than on the flat of its foot, like cats and ...
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2answers
28 views

Growth factors vs. mitogens

According to Campbell Biology, A growth factor is a protein released by certain cells that stimulates other cells to divide. and according to Wikipedia, A mitogen is a chemical substance ...
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1answer
10 views

Difference between LH and ICSH

Are Luteinizing hormone and Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone(ICSH) the same?
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1answer
33 views

Why is stimulation of nerve tissue with a negative pulse called “cathodic” stimulation?

By definition, the cathode is defined as the terminal through which current exits a polarized device. But in the context of neuromodulation, such as spinal cord stimulation, deep brain stimulation, ...
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1answer
37 views

Is there is difference between “homozygosity” and “homozygosis”? [closed]

Are these just two terms for the same phenomenon, i.e., the state of being homozygous? Merriam-Webster says so, but I know dictionaries sometimes miss the nuance of scientific terms. If they are ...
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1answer
31 views

Why are plant buds called 'eyes'? [closed]

I was reading the etymology of the Latinate English verb 'inoculate' which contains the following part that generated the question entitled above: [...] inoculare "graft in, implant a bud or eye ...
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2answers
173 views

Do mutant alleles result from mutation of the wild type?

The allele that encodes for the most common form of a phenotype in natural population is called a wild type allele and all the rest of the alleles encoding forms other than the wild type are called ...
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1answer
263 views

What is the distinction between the terms detrivores, decomposers, saprotrophs and saprozoic organisms?

All of them feed on dead and decaying matter (detritus). Detrivores and decomposers are distinct, as it says on Wikipedia, in the fact detrivores consume macroscopic clumps of detritus while ...
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1answer
52 views

Difference between various evolutionary terms [closed]

Could someone kindly explain me the difference between Phylogeny, Phylogenetic Tree, Evolutionary Trees, Phylotype, Clusters, OTU (Open Taxonomic Units). Or if possible please do suggest me a ...
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1answer
24 views

Biological term for close species rivalry

Is there any phenomenon/force in biology when two very close species fiercely fight each other (as a sign of a strong tendency to deepen the difference between species)? If there is, what's the name ...
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2answers
604 views

Why should a tumor look like a crab?

Origin of the word "cancer" The disease was first called cancer by Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). He is considered the “Father of Medicine”. Hippocrates used the terms carcinos and ...
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1answer
20 views

What does `knee atlas` means in an IEEE's paper?

I am referring an IEEE's paper for my project which has a term called knee atlas, I am not getting the exact meaning of this term, does they mean it a processed image or something else? I am working ...
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2answers
91 views

What does 'direction' mean in the statement “mutations are non-directional”?

I was reading the Mutation theory of De Vries; there I encountered this statement: Mutations are discontinuous, random & non-directional. This is in contrast to Darwinism where variations are ...
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0answers
36 views

What is the term for being younger than the body age?

I remember that I once attended a seminar in which the speaker talked about the heart rate of different kinds of butterflies. Normally, the heart rate of the adult butterfly will be more complex than ...
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0answers
34 views

How are CheY, CheA, CheW, CheZ pronounced in speech?

This is a quick followup question to this question about proteins that play important roles in chemotaxis: How does one pronounce the protein names "CheY", "CheW", etc., in English? My guess would ...
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3answers
111 views

Abbreviations for molecules: What are CheW, CheA, CheY?

I've encountered the abbreviations such as "CheW" and "CheA" for certain organic molecules. For example: Proteins associating with the Tar complex include the autophosphorylating protein kinase ...
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1answer
211 views

“selective pressure” or “selection pressure”?

Editing a manuscript of mine, a co-author changes "selection pressure" to "selective pressure". Are those two terms interchangeable? Or are there subtle differences that I'm not aware of? The ...
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1answer
132 views

Are mitochondria alive? [duplicate]

I'm working on an assignment for my IB biology class and some assistance would be highly appreciated. I've read several articles and I still haven't quite gotten the answer I'm looking for. I have to ...
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2answers
168 views

How does ecology differ from biology?

What precisely is ecology? How does it differ from biology? Because I never studied biology after high school, please explain as if I were 10 years old. I only know that ecology is a subset of biology ...
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3answers
30k views

What is it called when one human eye is seeing brighter color than the other?

What is the name of a phenomenon where one of the human eyes is seeing brighter/more saturated color than the other? I can observe the same object from the same position while alternating which eye is ...
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0answers
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Meaning of “pure” in “pure plant DNA” (horizontally transferred to bacteria in soil conditions)

The abstract of Transformation of Acinetobacter baylyi in non-sterile soil using recombinant plant nuclear DNA, by Simpson et al., 2007: To provide estimates of horizontal gene transfer from ...
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1answer
176 views

What is a selective constraint?

I encountered the term selective constraint in Huber et al. 2015, page 4 (last paragraph) in: If invariable sites are included in the analysis, then both the methods of Kim and Stephan ...
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1answer
573 views

Difference between Category, Rank and Taxon

Is there any differences between the terms Category, Rank and Taxon or they all are same? I remember an explanation which goes on like this: Category and Rank are the same and are the categories of ...
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1answer
32 views

Clarification about taxon (plural taxa)

If i am right, then any category placed at any rank in the taxonomical hierarchy is a taxon. For example Panthera, Mammalia, Solanaceae etc. But are general group of organism (casual groups which are ...
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5answers
5k views

Can the third sex be categorized as Male or Female?

Hijra are people who have a penis (not sure if sexually active) but look much like a female (perhaps for some feminine biological property). Wikipedia says they are "physiological males who have ...
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48 views

Is there an organism which is “The Opposite of Hydra”?

My understanding is that if hydra is cut into pieces, each piece can evolve into a new hydra. What I'm looking for is whether there exists an organism with a this property reversed, that is, if two or ...
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1answer
28 views

What is the difference between Ostracodermi and Placodermi

I looked the word origin and found Placodermi is PLATE SKINNED while Ostracodermi is Shell Skinned. Can you please explain the difference between being Plate skinned and Shell skinned?
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93 views

Definition of “essentially diploid”

While researching the F12 cell culture medium (Ham, 1965), I came across the term "essentially diploid Chinese hamster ovary cells". The terms "subdiploid" and "near diploid" were also used to refer ...
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2answers
20 views

What are blood group determinants? [closed]

I am trying to understand if they are the same as the blood antigens. The books I have tried to read say something about them being the antigens on the surface of the red blood cell.
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1answer
59 views

Chimeric Gene vs Fusion Gene?

According to wikipedia on chimeric genes: These mutations are distinct from fusion genes which merge whole gene sequences into a single reading frame and often retain their original functions. ...
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2answers
367 views

Why are the sex chromosomes called X and Y?

Is there a specific reason that the letter Y is used as the symbol for the male chromosome and X is used for the female chromosome?
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1answer
58 views

What is the definition of the life biologically ? [duplicate]

I want to know what is the definition of the life biologically , on the other hand , what is the definition of the death biologically ?? However, I think it is a very difficult question to answer . ...
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5answers
5k views

Difference between genetic engineering and synthetic biology

I've recently seen the term synthetic biology being used to describe research involving genetic modification of organisms. What is the difference between synthetic biology and genetic engineering? Is ...
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2answers
18k views

What are the functions and differences between axons and dendrites?

My textbook doesn't do a very good job of pointing out what the differences between the two are. It basically mentions axons only in the same breath as the synapse (that synapses are the endings/tips ...
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3answers
8k views

What is the distinction between chemokines, cytokines, interferons and interleukins?

They all seem to describe molecules of similar function and many people seem to use them interchangeably. Also please include any other similar molecules if I've forgotten any in the list above.
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1answer
54 views

What are 'factors' in biology? [closed]

My question is what does the word 'factor' mean in words like transcription-factor or nerve growth-factor? What is similar between these different compounds such that they deserve the word 'factor' in ...
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2answers
39 views

Is there a name for this phenomenon described in “Phylogenies and the Comparative Method”?

The figures below are from Felsenstein's paper "Phylogenies and the Comparative Method". I was wondering if there was a specific name for this effect where there is an apparant correlation that is ...
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1answer
84 views

Are there any culinary fruits that are not botanically fruits or accessory fruits? [closed]

Many culinary vegetables are botanically fruits. For example, the tomato, bittergourd and the cucumber are generally considered culinary vegetables, but they are botanically considered fruits. Does ...
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0answers
38 views

Sexually homologous traits

When papers refer to traits as being sexually homologous do they refer to traits which are: a) present in both sexes but can be dimorphic (e.g. body size is sexually homologous because both sexes ...
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3answers
287 views

Where does the term “cos site” come from?

The word cosmid is derived from cos sites of lambda phages. Why are cos sites called cos sites? What does this "cos" refer to?
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1answer
54 views

Evolution and Phenotypes.

This may be better suited for the English language SE, but When discussing evolutionary changes in species is it proper to refer to their phenotypes? In this context: "Imagine if a cow did not ...
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2answers
2k views

Are blood vessels organs?

Are blood vessels classified as organs? Organs compose of 2 or more tissues and perform a certain function. Blood vessels have 3 different tissues and perform a function (transport blood), yet I do ...
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2answers
59 views

Terminology for inefficacy of selection on recessive alleles

I am wondering is there some proper terminology which is used to say that deleterious recessive alleles might be able to hide, reducing the the efficacy of selection, in diploid organisms/chromosomes. ...
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2answers
4k views

Is episome a plasmid or a virus?

A plasmid is a small DNA molecule that is physically separate from, and can replicate independently of, chromosomal DNA within a cell. In general, in eukaryotes, episomes are closed circular DNA ...
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2answers
72 views

Is there a name for the evolutionary loss of vestigial structures?

Consider a biological structure which no longer benefits an organism, such as the eyes of an organism whose population now lives in total darkness. I can think of three reasons why such a structure ...
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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?
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1answer
62 views

What does the term “relay competent” mean?

I was reading the article of Dallon & Othmer (2010) which deals with cell aggregation in Dictyostelium discoideum. In the introduction of the paper it is said that cells becomes "relay competent". ...
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1answer
517 views

Why Sister Chromatids and Daughter cells and not brother chromatids and son cells

In biology why do we have terminologies in terms of female relatinships such as daughter cells and sister chromatids and not in terms of male relationships. When did this custom started and is there a ...
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1answer
36 views

Terminology regarding cross-immunoreactivity

After reading an article, I saw expressions like "cross-immunoreactivity among epitopes", "cross-immunoreactivity among variants of virus", "immunological reactions among pairs of peptides" and so on. ...
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112 views

Neuston vs pleuston

I was recently reading about the wonderful chondrophores, and came across the terms "neuston" and "pleuston". According to Wikipedia, "neuston" are "the organisms that float on the top of water ... ...