If I picked up a DNA molecule and randomly snipped out a piece with scissors what is the scientific name for the resulting piece?
I'll confess right up front that I am not an academic or professional. I am retired and write science fiction for a hobby but I like everything in my stories that can be true and correct to be so.
In my current novella I have AI searching through the entire human DNA molecule (coding and non-coding) for a piece of DNA not related to grains but to a grain viroid. I am aware that viroids only infect plants but for my story I need a piece of this viroid to have spliced itself into the DNA of grains. That will then be found in the DNA we share with grains. Like the DNA we share with chickens, fruit flies, and bananas.
In my novella the reason for this is that it is a part of the trigger sequence for human metamorphosis which then takes place over ten thousand years. Just as things like body weight, food scarcity, etc. are triggers for metamorphosis in other animals, eating large amounts of grains is the trigger for human metamorphosis in my current story. Eating large amounts of grains means the development of agriculture and thus civilization. In my fictional universe where earth-like humans are not unique but common (due to convergent evolution) the birth of a new civilization means the beginning of their end unless they can escape the confines of their planet of origin before they destroy themselves via some version of the great filter.
Metamorphosis in other animals is an evolutionary strategy that is believed to have developed for similar reasons.
The metamorphosis that is triggered in humans leads to the development of AI and robotics and the next stage of life for the species. It enables them to spread to other worlds (which our organic bodies can't do in time) just like dragonflies leaving their pond.
"Why is humanity so compelled to create artificial life in its own image? Perhaps the caterpillar feels the same as it builds its chrysalis and for the same reasons." -- quote from my story, Metamorphosis And The Messenger.
So that's the big idea. As I was writing a paragraph about this search I wanted the correct word for a random piece of DNA. Google's AI only responded with names for specific pieces of DNA like genes, bases, exons etc. So since Google's AI is not smart enough to handle my question here I am. Maybe it's just called a "piece" but if there is a proper, scientific name I would prefer to use it.