Questions tagged [terminology]

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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55
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7answers
10k 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 ...
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3answers
5k views

Is a DNA molecule a single strand of polynucleotide or two of them linked together?

Our molecular biology teacher told us that a double helix of DNA was composed of two DNA molecules linked together by hydrogen bonds. The thing is, until now, I always thought a DNA molecule was ...
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2answers
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Are mutations random?

The following claim Mutations are random or just the use of the expression Random mutations are very common among lay people. The claim is very common among lay people. The claim is often ...
43
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3answers
158k 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?
11
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2answers
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What instances are there in which two species share the same binomial name?

Since binomials are required to be unique only within a kingdom, two species can share the same binomial name if they are in different kingdoms. I know of one instance of this, Orestias elegans: this ...
10
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1answer
3k 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 ...
33
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2answers
5k 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 ...
8
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2answers
1k views

What defines a microbial species?

I know that microbes are not capable of sexual reproduction, thus sorting them into species according to "groups that can interbreed and generate fertile offspring" should not apply.
6
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3answers
5k 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
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1answer
358 views

Was Darwin aware of the difficulties behind the concept of species?

Introduction The concept of species is a very old concept that suffers from not being a natural category. There exists no single definition that would categorize living beings into groups and that ...
10
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1answer
11k views

What is the difference between the cellular affix -cyte and -blast?

The affix -blast means an immature cell, and -cyte indicates any cell. So how do we define if a cell is mature (-cyte) or immature (-blast)? How does this apply to odontoblasts and ameloblasts? Why ...
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2answers
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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 ...
12
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2answers
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
21k 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 ...
4
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5answers
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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
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1answer
6k views

What do the names of Immunoglobulin subtypes mean?

What is the exact meaning and full form of IgM, IgG, IgA, etc? What is the rationale behind the names of the isotypes, if there is one? For example, what does "M" mean in IgM?
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2answers
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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 ...
17
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4answers
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Why do both the mango and the bee have "Indica" in their binomial name?

In my textbook, it is written that the binomial name of mango is Mangifera indica and the binomial name of a bee is Apis indica. Now in the name the second part is the name of species. But mango and ...
8
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1answer
714 views

How a Name is Selected for Binomial Nomenclature

I understand the gist of how to construct a name using the Binomial Nomenclature, but I don't understand how to select a unique name. My contrived example comes from looking at this: acaulis: ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Why is the prefrontal cortex called such?

Pre means before. Frontal means front. What does cortex means? Brain? Is it the front most part of the brain? Is it located at the most frontal part of the brain and that's why it's called ...
4
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2answers
52k 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 ...
4
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1answer
86 views

How does species diversity vs Earth total biomass relate?

Are there any laws/theoretical foundations about how diversity of species relate with total biomass on Earth? While there is a lot of esoteric sort of talk "humanity dis-balances the live on the ...
11
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1answer
92k views

Dorsal vs Posterior and Ventral vs Anterior

From prior reading, I thought that Dorsal is the same as Posterior and Ventral is the same as Anterior. However, when I checked in google images for these anatomical terms for a horse (just to ...
15
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4answers
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Where can I get a file/list of the common and scientific names of species?

I am searching for an un-encoded data file with common and scientific names for example of a few hundred species or tens of thousands, where I can search the common and scientific labels of organisms.
14
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2answers
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Are 'homeothermic' and 'endothermic' synonymous?

I got this question from the comments below this answer. So, do homeothermic and poikilothermic have the same meaning as endothermic and ectothermic, respectively? A user also suggested that the ...
13
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2answers
8k views

What is the difference between cytosol and cytoplasm?

I've generally seen cytosol defined as the solution inside cells minus the organelles, cytoskeleton, etc and cytoplasm as the cytosol plus the organelles, cytoskeleton, etc. This naturally leads to ...
12
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4answers
2k views

What is the definition of "Natural Selection"?

Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. Natural selection, a process that results in the adaptation of an organism to its ...
13
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5answers
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Why is the opposite of plantar flexion called "dorsiflexion"?

Why is the action of flexing the foot so that the toes move anteriorly/superiorly (i.e. in the direction opposite that which they move during plantar flexion) described as "dorsiflexion?" In the same ...
13
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2answers
6k views

Using anatomical terms for human organs and parts of plants

I know how to apply anatomical directional terms (e.g., dorsal/ventral, anterior/posterior, etc.) for animals as a whole (bipeds and quadrupeds). Recently, I've been studying plant physiology, and I ...
11
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3answers
33k 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.
12
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2answers
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Are all mutagens carcinogens?

Not all carcinogens are mutagens. Alcohol and estrogen, for example, does not damage DNA. It's one of the assumptions of the Ames test that mutagenicity implies carcinogenicity, but is this always ...
9
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1answer
15k views

Are sensory receptors neurons?

Background There are many receptor types in the body, with various functions and various mechanisms of transduction. Receptor cells are considered to be part of the peripheral nervous system, as they ...
9
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2answers
20k views

What is the anatomical term for a two jointed leg?

Allow me to apologize in advance for the layman's terminology. I'm wondering what the anatomical term for a cat- or a goat-style hind leg is. Cats, goats, t-rexes, and many many other animals don't ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Is vermiform appendix no more a vestigial organ?

The appendix has a role in the immune response. So is it therefore recently removed from the list of vestigial organs?
6
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2answers
438 views

Which DNA elements belong to the definition of a gene?

I see a lot of different DNA elements mentioned as part of a gene (talking about eukaryotes): The length of DNA following the promoter is a gene and it contains the recipe for a protein. (video) ...
4
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1answer
138 views

When does one decide to refer to a virus as a new variant?

I've read that SARS-Cov-2 has several variants, e.g.: Can the U.S. keep Covid variants in check? Here's what it takes. Novavax’s Vaccine Works Well — Except on Variant First Found in South Africa ...
3
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1answer
8k views

What is heteroduplex?

I fail to understand the what exactly is heteroduplex due to unavailability of a suitable diagram. According to wikipidea: A heteroduplex is a double-stranded (duplex) molecule of nucleic acid ...
2
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1answer
445 views

Is apparent competition a suitable term in situations where one species is not negatively affected?

When two prey (or resource) species share a common predator (consumer), they can be in apparent competition. An increase in one prey species can increase the common predator density, which negatively ...
8
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1answer
880 views

Cockroach-like insect identification (India)

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 ...
6
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3answers
23k views

Origin of term ‘confluency’ in cell culture

Since as long as I have been doing cell culture, the word confluency has been used to describe the percentage growth of cells or area covered by them. However, no dictionary that I have found uses ...
4
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1answer
4k 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 ...
4
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3answers
433 views

What could I call such nucleic-acid-Sequence? A sort of palindromic sequence? is there any term called mirror repeat?

5'... ATGCC|CCGTA ...3' 3'... TACGG|GGCAT ...5' or say 5'... AAGT|TGAA ...3' 3'... TTCA|ACTT ...5' or in generalised way; on each strand; ABCDEF|FEDCBA Is there any terminology for such-sort ...
3
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2answers
179 views

Does the term "Biophysics" have two different meanings?

1. Some sources (including the current Tag-info at biology SE) state; biophysics is the adoption of techniques / methodologies from physics to study biological systems. The use of methods from the ...
3
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2answers
839 views

What is the difference between neurotransmitters acting as neurotransmitters and hormones?

My main confusion is what differentiates the action of a transmitter substance as a neurotransmitter and as a hormone. For example, when norepinephrine is being talked about as transmitter substance ...
2
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1answer
1k views

What is a cognate enhancer sequence?

What is a cognate enhancer sequence? While reading a paper (1) presented at a journal class in graduate school, I encountered this sentence: HIF-1 binds to its cognate enhancer sequence, the ...
2
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1answer
235 views

Does gross production (P) and biomass (B) mean the same?

From fundamentals of ecology, Odum 2005: ... autogenic succession usually begins with an unbalanced community metabolism, where gross production, P, is either greater than or less than community ...
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0answers
27 views

Want reference for a convention

This answer to another question satisfactorily answer one of my major confusion. The convention is that in indicating any sequence feature† in a protein-coding gene on double-stranded DNA, a ...
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0answers
762 views

On the definition of gDCW (gram dry cell weight)

I need some clarification on the concept of gram dry cell weight. The unit acronym gDCW stands for gram dry cell weight. My interpretation is that 1 gDCW is equivalent to 1 gram of dry cells, but I ...
1
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2answers
472 views

What is the difference between these two depictions of chromosome?

I understand that this is a single chromatid, but would this be considered a chromosome? Also before mitosis, the chromosomes appear as single chromatids but during interphase they replicate to form ...
0
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0answers
418 views

What is the difference between muscle tension and muscle tightness?

Is there any difference between muscle tension and muscle tightness? I want to study the relation between forearm muscles tightness/tension and tendinopathy (specifically, medial and lateral ...