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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

20
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “computational biology” different from “bioinformatics”?

Are "computational biology" and "bioinformatics" simply different terms for the same thing or is there a real difference?
11
votes
2answers
196 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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.
5
votes
1answer
81 views

How are Raunkiær's plant life forms viewed today?

At the beginning of the 20th century, Raunkiær proposed a typology of plant life-forms based on where they bear their buds, roughly as: cryptophytes: belowground hemicryptophytes: at the surface ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

Calculating Protein Concentration from Kilo Units (KU)

I am looking to purchase Pyruvate Kinase from the Sigma Website, they state the volume in Kilo Units (KU) i.e. 1, 5 or 25 KU. It also states there are 350-600 units / mg protein. Does this mean one ...
4
votes
2answers
74 views

Do swarms show intelligence?

Can you think of collective and swarm behaviors as "intelligence"? Would such a concept apply to a) ant colonies and b) fish swarms?
4
votes
4answers
127 views

Collective name for the X- and Z-chromosomes

Chromosomes are grouped as sex chromosomes or autosomes, with the X, Y, Z and W all falling in to the former category. The Z and X are present both in the homogametic and heterogametic sexes, and the ...
4
votes
1answer
63 views

Definition of “structural underdominance”?

In Stathos and Fishman (2014), the authors refer to the concept of structural underdominance. The first time they mention it is in the first paragraph of the second page (left column) and the term is ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is immunopanning (vs. immunoprecipitation and FACS)?

I had never heard the term before today. From what I can tell, it's using antibodies to purify a cell population of interest. I would appreciate more details, especially in how it differs from ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a focal copy number variation?

Often, genetics studies, especially genome wide ones, talk about "focal copy number variations" in genes or regions of the chromosome. I know what a copy number variation is. What does "focal" mean, ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a “mechanistic study”?

I believe a "mechanistic study" means a study where a medicinal product is being used but the purpose of the study is to investigate the patient or disease, not the medicinal product. How does this ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

Terminology question: the scope of an allele in an organism

Let us consider a gene FOO with novel type foo. If I were discussing an organism that has inherited foo in every cell during classical zygote formation, then I would ordinarily just say that the ...
3
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

What is a bacterial biofilm?

Bacteria produce something called a biofilm. I have found a few definitions; some say it is a complex of live and dead bacteria and others say it is a layer on cell wall. What is it made of? What ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

What does the term 'bioavailability' mean?

From what I've read, Bioavailability is the degree to which food nutrients are available for absorption and utilization in the body. How would you explain this with an example?
3
votes
2answers
183 views

What does confluency mean?

Since as long as I have been doing cell culture, the word confluency is used to describe the % growth of cells or area covered by them. However, no dictionary that I have found uses this word. I was ...
3
votes
2answers
556 views

What is an 'ex vivo' experiment?

Simple terminology question: Is there a hard boundary between in vitro and ex vivo? Is there a hard boundary between in vivo and ex vivo? Suppose a sensory neuron is electrically recorded in the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Are there verbs for “undergo mitosis” and “undergo meiosis”?

From my experience on SE sites, I believe this is the right site to ask this question under "terminology". I've been trying to find out whether English has one-word verbs for "undergo mitosis" and ...
3
votes
1answer
941 views

Is the complement system a part of innate or adaptive immunity

I've been reading about the complement system, as part of the human immune system. The complement system is introduced as part of the article on innate immunity on Wikipedia. This classification makes ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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
2answers
15 views

What is correct MVM vs. MMV?

I'm writing up a report and I see conflicts everywhere on the internet. Should it be Murine Minute Virus (MMV) or Minute Virus of Mice (MVM). The followup question is does it really matter.
3
votes
1answer
46 views

How much divergence would be needed for classifications as astrobiology?

It is possible that life has invaded mars or the moon by way of probes rovers and other man made tech. How many years or generations of sequential and phenotypical diverge would be necessary to ...
3
votes
1answer
212 views

What is “bacto” peptone?

Standard recipes for yeast medium often include "bacto-peptone". Is this the same as bacteriological peptone? Is there an authoritative source that spells it out?
3
votes
1answer
376 views

Is a “Fact” any theory for which there is overwhelming evidence in any field other than biology?

Evolution is often described as a fact, and a theory. Evolution is a heavily overloaded term, with one definition being the fact that, "changes in the frequency of alleles in populations of organisms ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Is there a term to quantify how spread a character is on a phylogenetic tree?

Is there a term which can quantify how 'spread out' a particular character is on a tree? I want to distinguish between a character which is only restricted to a particular clade vs. a character that ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Transcript(omics) terminology: cDNAs, ESTs, RNA-seq, etc

I've worked pretty frequently with genome and transcriptome data for several years now, but I'm still not 100% sure I understand the proper usage for certain terminology related to transcripts and ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Is there a superterm combining “animal line” and “cell line” in disease models?

Biologists researching diseases will frequently use animal models. The way I understand it, there are species of animals, such as "mouse", and lines of mice, such as ...
3
votes
0answers
25 views

Color perception vs shade perception demo

I can't seem to find one of the best demos I've seen of color vs brightness perception. It consisted of a rotating animation of earth made of red of bright red points on a dark green background. As ...
2
votes
1answer
25 views

What is the difference between sinew and tendon?

I wonder what the difference between sinew and tendon is. I searched for it but didn't get any clear answer: https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-between-sinew-and-tendon: They are often ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

Optical density machine name

What is the name of the machine used to measure optical density? We used it in a lab but I can't remember what they called it.
2
votes
2answers
35 views

What is refractory proteinuria?

I've stumbled upon the article "Telmisartan Treatment of Refractory Proteinuria in a Dog."* What is refractory proteinuria? *Bugbee AC1, Coleman AE, Wang A, Woolcock AD, Brown SA. J Vet Intern Med. ...
2
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
166 views

What is the difference between clinical and non-clinical depression, and is there a term for different severity of the bipolar disorder?

I was looking for a term which describes a bipolar disorder of lesser severity. I know from experience from someone I know well, what a very severe case of the bipolar disorder looks like, when an ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

Is there a name for this principle in biological contexts?

This is mostly a question about usage. There is a probability-related idea that has been used in at least two biological contexts. The idea is that if something happened, it was probably likely to ...
2
votes
1answer
587 views

What do rs id, allele coded 0 and allele coded 1 mean?

So, for a project I've been working on (different story), I've been looking at the HapMap Project, and their free online files. In their README file, they talk about how for each legend file for each ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Confusion related to a term probe-by-background interaction

I was reading a paper related to bioinformatics where it uses the drug response on the cancer cells and the gene expression of the individual cells are studied to find any useful insights. Specially, ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Currency metabolites vs. current metabolites: What's the right term?

I have seen the two terms currency metabolite and current metabolite used interchangeably. Is there a consensus on which is the ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Cosmid genomic library, or genomic cosmid library?

Which usage is better for referring to a "cosmid library of genomic DNA fragments"?
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Mass Spectrometry Terminology

I began reading this paper (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/14/56) and had a few questions about mass spectrometry terminology that I couldn't find answers to elsewhere. Consider the following ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Terminology question about the correct term for areas of biological research

I am writing a paper about DNA sequence prediction. DNA sequence prediction is done across various areas of biology, including, for example, RSS sequence prediction (in immunology) and prediction of ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between Bioscience and Lifescience

Are bioscience and lifescience the same things? I am a little bit confused about it. If not, then what is the difference between the two?
2
votes
1answer
162 views

How do you average Ki values?

It's embarrassing for me to ask this but well such is life. NIMH Psychoactive Drug Screening Program (PDSP) Ki Database is mentioned as the source of the average binding affinity (Ki) values given in ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a pA(2) value?

I saw this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16710314 and it mentioned pA(2) values and I had no idea what they were. What are they? What do they mean? If possible it'd be just dandy if you ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Collective term for both exons and introns

Is there a term I can use to refer collectively to both exons and introns? By collectively, I don't mean ligated as with an unprocessed transcription product. I'm just writing about exons and introns ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

What is the formal terminology for two species that are “close” to each other in a phylogenetic tree?

Take for example the human and the chimpanzee, they are "closely related" species since they are "close" to each other in a phylogenetic tree. However, this terminology seems pretty informal, what ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

What does to “evolve” exactly mean? [closed]

In this article, the author says: Evolution isn’t “leading up” to anything, it just drunkenly limps along using the same set of tricks in slightly different orders. On other occasions, however, ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Clonidine's adrenonergic nature?

I am little confused here. I used the term adrenoagonist and sympatholytic to describe the compound. However, my teacher says that the correct term here is adrenomimetic -term. My understanding of ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

What does the term 'modified residue position' in phosphorylation mean?

Does it mean the position of the amino acid in the protein sequence, or something else? For example, I came across the phrase "S 368 phosphoryation" where S is the modified residue and 368 is the ...
1
vote
1answer
3k 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 ...