Enzyme: A functional protein that catalyzes (speeds up) a
chemical reaction. Enzymes control the rate of naturally occurring
metabolic processes such as those necessary for growth and reproduction.
Escherichia coli (E. coli): a common gut bacteria that is a
workhorse and model organism for molecular biology.
Excipient: an inactive ingredient (there are no absolutely
inert excipients) added to a drug to give it a pill form or otherwise
aid in delivery.
Expression: a highly specific process in which a gene is
switched on at a certain time and begins production of its protein,
resulting in the manifestation of a characteristic that is specified by
a gene. Genetic predispositions to disease can occur, for example, if a
person carries the gene for a disease but it is not expressed.
False negative: an experimental outcome that incorrectly
yields a negative result. False negatives can complicate disease
False positive: an experimental outcome that incorrectly
yields a positive result. False positives can frustrate assessing the
performance of lead compounds.
Functional genomics: the use of biological experiments and
database searches to establish what each gene does, how it is regulated,
and how it interacts with other genes.
Functional foods: foods containing compounds with beneficial
health effects beyond those provided by the basic nutrients, minerals
Gene: the fundamental unit of heredity, a section of DNA which
codes for a defined biochemical function. Some genes direct the
synthesis of proteins, while others have regulatory functions.
Gene therapy: the replacement of a defective gene in a person
or organism suffering from a genetic disease.
Genetic code: the language in which DNA’s instructions are
written. The genetic code consists of triplets of nucleotides (codons),
with each triplet corresponding to one amino acid in a protein structure
or a signal to start or stop protein production.
Genetic disorder: a condition or mutation that results from
one or more defective genes.
Genetic engineering: the manipulation of genes to create
heritable changes in biological organisms and products that are useful
to people, living things, or the environment.