Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

Glossary

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Term Definition
Paternal chromosome
The chromosome of a homologous pair that isinhertited from the father (the homologous partner comes form the mother).
Patient-identical cells
Cells that have an identical DNA to the patient's own cells and could therefore be used therapeutically without risk of rejection.
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Phenotype
Observable/detectable characteristic(s) of an organism, usually used with reference to an organism's genotype.
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Pheres gene
A gene involved in embryonic development in Arabidopsis, whose activity is modified by the MEDEA protein that binds to its promoter (see regulatory elements).
Placenta
Temporary membraneous vascular organ that develops in mammals when young are developing in the womb. Attaches to the foetus via the umbilical cord, and is expelled after birth. (see also extra embryonic tissues).
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Pluripotency
A pluripotent cell is able to differentiate into many cell types, e.g. stem cells.
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Polar overdominance
Unique form of inheritance (described in sheep) whereby a mutant Callipyge allele must be inherited from the father to cause muscle hypertrophy (big buttocks).
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Polycomb-group proteins
A family of proteins first discovered in fruit flies that can remodel chromatin such that transcription factors cannot bind to promoter sequences in DNA. In Drosophila, the Trithorax-group (trxG) and Polycomb-group (PcG) proteins act antagonistically and interact with chromosomal elements, termed Cellular Memory Modules (CMMs).
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Polymorphisms
Two or more kinds of DNA sequence variations maintained in a breeding population
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Position-effect variegation
(PEV) Variegation caused by the inactivation of a gene in some cells through its abnormal juxtaposition with heterochromatin.
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Posttranscriptional gene silencing
Gene silencing effected by the interception of RNA after transcription (compare transcriptional silencing; see RNA interference).
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Posttranslational modification
Endogenous covalent modification of proteins either by peptide-splicing or by modification of specific amino acids (e.g. through phosphorylation, acetylation etc.).
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Prader-Willi syndrome
(PWS) A genetic disorder characterized by severe hypotonia and feeding difficulties in early infancy, followed in later infancy or early childhood by excessive eating and gradual development of morbid obesity.
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Protein
A polypeptide chain or complex of polypeptide chains, each consisting of a long string of amino acids. Amino acid sequences are specified by the underlying DNA sequence of the gene that encodes that protein.
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Purine
Nitrogen-containing organic bases made from a double ring structure. Includes adenine and guanine, which base-pair with pyrimidines to form the rungs in the DNA double helical ladder.
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