Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

Glossary

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Term Definition
Reproductive cloning
A form of artificial reproduction technique based on cloning.
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Rhabdoid tumour
Very agressive form of tumour originally described as a variant of Wilms' tumors.
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Ribosomal gene
One of several tandemly arranged genes each encoding an rRNA molecule that is a structural and ribozymatic component of ribosomes.
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Ribosome
Protein factory in eukaryotes located outside of the cell nucleus. The particle is cmposed of ribosomal RNAs and ribosomal proteins and it associates with mRNA to catalyze the synthesis of protein.
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RNA
Ribonucleic acid. Polymer formed from covalently linked ribonucleotide monomers.
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RNA interference
Mechanism of gene silencing. Small double-stranded RNA sequences interrupt the process of translation (mRNA->protein) thus preventing gene expression.
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RNA silencing
See RNA interference.
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Serine phosphorylation
Serine is one of the building blocks of protein that can be modified by the addition of a chemical tag, in this case, a phosphate group.
Silencing
A cellular process that suppresses gene expression, in other words, turning the gene “off”.
SiRNAs
Small-interfering RNAs (involved in RNA intereference). A process that both naturally occurs in cells and is being used as a technology to switch certain genes off.
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Small RNA
Short RNA that can in some cases regulate gene expression and/or repeat elements.
Somatic cell nuclear transfer
(SCNT) A technique for cloning, whereby an unfertilized egg has its nucleus replaced with another (from a somatic (body) cell), and is then grown in culture or used to create an embryo (see also therapeutic cloning).
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Stem cell
Primal undifferentiated cells which retain the ability to differentiate into other cell types.
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Stem cell therapy
Process of injecting stem cells into an organism in the hope that they will differentiate and replace damaged tissue.
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Systems biology
the study of systems of biological components. Since living systems are dynamic and complex, their behavior can be hard to predict from the properties of their individual parts. Therefore researchers use methods like making quantitative measurements of the behavior of groups of interacting components using systematic measurement technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics, and proteomics, and implement mathematical and computational models to describe and predict dynamical behavior. Adapted from the Harvard Systems Biology website: