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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
55
votes
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 ...
43
votes
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?
34
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do animal cells "mistake" rubidium ions for potassium ions?

So, I was browsing the Wikipedia article for rubidium, and came across this interesting tidbit: Rubidium is not a known nutrient for any living organisms. However, rubidium ions have the same charge ...
33
votes
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 ...
29
votes
4answers
7k 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?
28
votes
3answers
8k 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-seeded ...
22
votes
3answers
13k views

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 ...
22
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Can 'human' become a genus due to space colonization?

I have read that during the Second World War, some mosquitoes got trapped in the London underground railway system. The mosquitoes never got out and eventually they became a new species by themselves. ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

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
votes
3answers
2k views

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
votes
4answers
3k views

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.
15
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
15
votes
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
59k views

What is the difference between an antibiotic and an antibacterial?

Concerning medicine, what are the differences between antibiotics and antibacterials?
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of multicellularity?

I can't understand what multicellularity is. Wikipedia states that any organism having many cells is multicellular. By this definition bacteria can also be multicellular. For example, cyanobacteria ...
14
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
480 views

How to decipher references in natural history works of the late Renaissance and early Modernity?

Old botany books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries (and maybe also some later ones ?) enumerating lists of species use to give references to their own sources as abbreviations of one or few ...
13
votes
5answers
19k views

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
votes
3answers
2k views

Are all carcinogens mutagens?

I assume that all carcinogens must be mutagens, but I've read that this is not the case. However, I can't find any good examples or an explanation of why it is not the case. How can a non-mutagenic ...
13
votes
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?
13
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
172 views

To which distinctions does the term "hymenoptera" refer?

Hymenoptera is an order of insects that includes bees, ants, and wasps. A quick search gives the following etymological analysis of the term hymenoptera. hymen (membrane) + pteron (wing) Does the ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

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
votes
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
votes
1answer
2k views

Has the acronym DNA ever been widely understood to stand for deoxyribose nucleic acid?

I have a friend familiar with evolutionary biology who was recently bragging about how much he knows. I asked him what DNA stood for, and he answered it stood for 'deoxyribose nucleic acid'. When I ...
12
votes
2answers
635 views

When writing about past research should I use the species name they employed or the modern version?

I am currently writing a literature review in which I am talking about the old research on the subject. When this research was carried out the species I'm talking about were classed under a different ...
12
votes
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
8k views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Does the cytoplasm include the organelles?

I am a student in middle school. My textbook says that Cytoplasm is the gelatinous liquid part of the cell excluding organelles. However my teacher said this is wrong. According to her, the correct ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
790 views

Dreadnoughtus: Why are new taxa named using Dog Latin?

Once upon a time, binomial nomenclature was expected to follow Latin rules: the genus had to be a noun and the species had to be an adjective that agreed with the genus according to Latin rules of ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
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.
10
votes
3answers
26k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
22k 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
votes
3answers
61k 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
votes
2answers
217 views

Acknowledging differentiation of species, in historical times

This is at least partly an historical question, and I am not even remotely a biologist of any sort, so apologies beforehand if it's a little obscure. I often wonder how many distinctions were made in ...
10
votes
2answers
118k 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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
12k views

Does the use of "var", "x", and/or "ssp" in a scientific name provide specific information?

What exactly does it mean when a plant has a scientific name that specifies a vairety, for example Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides, or when the name includes an "x", as in Populus ...
10
votes
1answer
10k views

What's the name of the fibrous strands that hold the seeds in a pumpkin?

If you cut open a pumpkin, the seeds are suspended inside the pumpkin by some fibrous, slimey strands. You can see them in the middle of this sliced-open pumpkin: I'm writing a post for the Cooking....
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are plants referred to by their Latin species names, and not by their popular names?

Often the names of herbal ingredients in certain cosmetics products are given by their scientific names like Anthemis nobilis instead of chamomile or Lavandula angustifolia instead of lavender. Is ...
9
votes
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
6k views

Why does DNA have its name?

Why is DNA called deoxyribonucleic acid and not something else? I get the nucleic acid part (because that's what DNA is made of) but what about the deoxyribo- part, especially the ribo- part. Maybe ...
9
votes
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
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...

1
2 3 4 5
14