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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27
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3answers
6k views

Is a walnut a nut or a drupe?

We've been learning about fruits (and the various categories thereof) in class; among them we have the nut and the drupe. My textbook differentiates between those terms as: Nut: It is a single-...
26
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3answers
6k 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?
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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 ...
20
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3answers
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Why is a mosquito feeding on human blood not a parasite?

I recently read in my Ecology course notes that a mosquito feeding on human blood is not considered as a parasite. However, since it sucks blood from the human body, shouldn't it be regarded as a ...
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 ...
16
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3answers
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Is prion a term used to describe the normal form of the protein as well as the disease causing form?

I've been reading my textbook and it refers to prions as a normal protein with a helpful function but it can turn into a disease causing form. However, I look in my other textbook and it refers to the ...
15
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
15
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2answers
3k views

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

I'm so embarrassed to ask such a question here, but 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, ...
13
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6answers
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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 ...
13
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3answers
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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?
13
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2answers
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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 ...
13
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2answers
7k 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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2answers
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ECG wave names origin

Why do electrocardiogram waves go P, Q, R, S, T and not like A, B, C, D? Is there any specific reason behind this?
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 ...
12
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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 ...
12
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2answers
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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 ...
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 ...
10
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3answers
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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 ...
10
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2answers
16k views

Difference between Peptone, Peptide and Proteose

In my school textbook, it is given that Pepsin converts proteins to peptones, proteose and peptides. What is the difference between the three products? On googling the terms, the definition was ...
10
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3answers
36k views

Inoculation vs. vaccination

Is there any actual difference between inoculation and vaccination or are these terms interchangeable? In case the difference exists, would it be correct to say that inoculation is purposefully ...
10
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1answer
6k 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 ...
10
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3answers
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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.
9
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2answers
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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 ...
9
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2answers
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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 ...
8
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4answers
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What is the difference between a protein and a factor?

In terms of nomenclature/semantics, why are some proteins named proteins, and some named factors? I've been revising on eukaryotic DNA, and I've come across some proteins that seem to serve roughly ...
8
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5answers
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What is the difference between a predator and a parasite?

A human encountering a tiger or a malaria plasmodium is likely to suffer, and the tiger/plasmodium is likely to gain from the transaction. Not necessarily a good example, and I am aware that a ...
8
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2answers
897 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.
8
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1answer
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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 ...
8
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2answers
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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 ...
8
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1answer
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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 ...
8
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1answer
3k views

What is head of a bone?

For most of the long bones head is the proximal end, but for metacarpals and Ulna, head is the distal end. Why are their distal ends called as heads? What's the criteria for calling an end as head ...
8
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1answer
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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 ...
8
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1answer
8k 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, ...
7
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1answer
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What is the difference between “Bisphosphate” and “Diphosphate” in biochemistry?

I have often found bisphosphate compounds ( e.g. RuBP, RuBisCO, 2,3-BPGA etc.) and diphosphate compounds (e.g. ADP, GDP etc.) in biochemistry. They are commonly seen and are important compounds in ...
7
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1answer
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Was HindII the first restriction endonuclease to be extracted?

Background: Guided by wikipedia and pmc I found this paper by Hamilton O. Smith. and .Daniel Nathans. A restriction enzyme is a component of a restriction-modification ...
7
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1answer
159 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". ...
6
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3answers
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“Higher plants” or “vascular plants”?

What is the difference — if any — between "higher plants" and "vascular plants"? On Wikipedia, "higher plants" redirects to "vascular plants", which seems like an indication that both ...
6
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3answers
803 views

Is the genetic term “polycistronic” still used in modern biology?

Is the term "cistronic", meaning an ORF on a mRNA, still commonly used in modern genetics? I´ve seen "polycistronic" being applied to prokaryotic mRNA in old textbooks, but I´ve rarely stumbled upon ...
6
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2answers
130 views

Why is ATP synthase sometimes referred to as ATPase?

Quite a few times I have seen the term ‘ATPase’ used for what I would consider ATP synthase. For example, my text has: “The phosphorylation of ADP to ATP is also catalysed by the enzyme ATPase.” I ...
6
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1answer
12k 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?
6
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
6
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1answer
491 views

Is there logic in this sentence? “Authors discovered a gene as one of the genes evolved through natural selection”

From a news report: PhD candidate Daiki Sato and Professor Masakado Kawata have discovered SLC18A1 (VMAT1), which encodes vesicular monoamine transporter 1, as one of the genes evolved through ...
6
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1answer
102 views

When is an anatomic entity named “laterale” vs. “lateralis”?

I'm trying to learn the latin names of anatomical entities and I have a hard time remembering whether it's "Os cuneiforme laterale" or "Os cuneiforme lateralis". In that case it's "laterale". But in ...
6
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1answer
9k views

Why sister chromatids and daughter cells but not brother chromatids and son cells?

In biology, why do we have terminologies in terms of female relatoinships such as daughter cells and sister chromatids and not in terms of male relationships. When did this custom started and is there ...
6
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2answers
387 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) ...
6
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2answers
713 views

Do lower animals have instinctive behaviors?

Can an organism such as C. elegans, with only 302 neurons, exhibit "instinctive or innate behavior"? If not, then at what basic minimal structure is instinct manifest?
6
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2answers
173 views

Is there a term for a procedure in which the chromatography column is washed with 20% alcohol

From a method description in a Russian document: After the chromatographic analysis is complete, the column is flushed with at least 2-3 volumes of water at a rate of 0.4 ml/min. The column is then ...
6
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1answer
68 views

Branch taking over a tree trunk

I stumbled upon a birch growing in sandy soil in a coniferous forest in central Russia. It looks like over time the tree trunk got bent towards the trail and one of the branches became the new trunk ...
6
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2answers
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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 ...
6
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2answers
14k views

Is there an acceptable term for 'male fox' other than 'dog'?

I'm writing a lab on sexual dimorphism in Arctic foxes. As such, I use the words 'dog' and 'vixen' fairly often. In the discussion section, I compare the results from the lab with the results from ...