mRNA (Messenger RNA): a ribonucleic acid molecule that transmits genetic information from DNA to the protein synthesis machinery in cells, where it directs protein synthesis.

Mutant: a cell or organism harboring one or more mutated genes.

Mutation: a change in the base sequence of a gene that results in it not performing its normal task in a cell.

Nucleotide: one of the structural components, or building blocks, of DNA and RNA. A nucleotide consists of a base plus one molecule of sugar and phosphoric acid.

Oncogenic: viruses, chemicals, genes, proteins, etc. that cause the formation of tumors.

Pathogen: a disease-causing organism.

Pharmacogenomics: examination of the genetic basis for variation in response to therapeutics by different individuals.

Pharming: the process of farming genetically engineered animals and plants to produce drugs.

Placebo: a mock-treatment used in single-blind or double-blind experiments to eliminate bias from experiment subjects or administrators, respectively.

Platform technology: a technique or tool that enables a range of scientific investigations. Examples include combinatorial chemistry for producing novel compounds, microarrays for gene expression analysis, and bioinformatics programs for data assembly and analysis.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): a method to produce sufficient DNA for analysis from a very small amount of DNA.

Prion: a naturally occurring protein that can be converted into a disease-causing form. Prion diseases can be transmitted in the absence of DNA or RNA.

Promoter: a DNA sequence preceding a gene that contains regulatory sequences influencing the expression of the gene.

Proof of principle: demonstration of the commercial potential of a discovery or invention.

Protein: a long-chain molecule consisting of amino acids that folds into a complex three-dimensional structure. The type and order of the amino acids in a protein is specified by the nucleotide sequence of the gene that codes for the protein. The structure of a protein determines its function.

Proteomics: the study of the protein profile of each cell type, protein differences between healthy and diseased states, and the function of and interaction among proteins.


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