Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

Glossary

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Base
(nucleotide) One of three building blocks of a nucleotide molecule. It is built of one or two aromatic rings containing carbon and a few nitrogen atoms. The most common bases in DNA and RNA are: cytosine, adenine, thymine, guanine and uracil. A nucleotide further constists of a five-carbon sugar, and one or more phosphate groups.
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Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
A rare overgrowth syndrome occuring in around 1 in 36,000 newborns globally. It is caused both by genetic mutation and/or abnormal imprinting. Symptoms include increased tongue size and enlarged organs with an increased risk of certain kinds of cancer.
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Beta-globin
A protein component of the red blood cell pigment haemoglobin essential for oxygen-transport. Absence of beta-globin in the blood, caused by inheritance of two mutated copies of the beta-globin gene, causes thalassaemia, a common blood disorder. It is also relevant in sickle cell anemia: A person with the sickle cell trait inherits one normal beta-globin gene (hemoglobin A) and one defective gene (hemoglobin S).
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Biennial or biannual
A term referring to a period of two years (derived from Latin language).
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Biotechnology
The use of living cells (e.g. bacteria, yeast, stem cells) or whole metazoan organisms (e.g. cloned animals like Dolly the sheep) or biological substances (enzymes) to perform industrial or manufacturing processes.
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Budding yeast
A type of fungus that reproduces asymmetrically by budding off daughter cells. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the best-known species, used by bakers and brewers for many centuries. It is one of the most important eukaryotic microorganisms serving as model organism for molecular biological research. See also fission yeast.
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Butyric acid
A carboxylic acid with the formula CH3(CH2)2COOH made by microorganisms. This oily, colourless liquid is responsible for part of the noxious odour from rancid butter or vomit. Epigenetic relevance: butyric acid enhances the transcriptional activity at promoters which are typically silenced/downregulated due to histone deacetylase activity.
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