CARTA Glossary

Displaying 1 - 97 of 97 defined words for "Implications of Anthropogeny for Medicine and Health". To see all CARTA defined words, please view the complete glossary.

Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Acclimatization

A reversible change in a biological characteristic contributing to maintaining homeostasis during exposure to an environmental stress.

Admixture

Breeding between isolated populations.

Allele

Alternative DNA sequence at the same locus (location on the chromosome)

Allele Frequency

The proportion of all alleles within a population that are a particular type.

Allosomes

Chromosomes that determine sex (XY, with Y-Chromosome inherited paternally).

Atherosclerosis

Build-up of cholesterol and inflammation in the lining of blood vessels.

Autosomes

All other non-allosomal chromosomes. Do not differ between the sexes.

Bayesian

Methods in probability and statistics named after Thomas Bayes (1702-61) in which a quantity is assigned to represent a state of knowledge, or a state of belief.

Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome

An overgrowth disorder caused by an imbalance in sex-specific modification of chromosomes and characterized by higher risk of childhood cancer and certain congenital features.

Carcinoma

A type of cancer that starts in cells that make up the skin or the tissue lining organs, such as the liver or kidneys. Carcinomas are abnormal cells that divide without control and can spread to other parts of the body.

Cardiomyopathy

An acquired or hereditary disease of heart muscle resulting in weakening, enlargement, thickening, or rigidity of the heart.

Cardiovascular Disease

Conditions of the heart that include diseased vessels, structural problems, and blood clots (sometimes used synonymously with Atherosclerosis).

Cholera

A bacterial disease causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, usually spread in sewage-contaminated water.

Chromatin

A complex of DNA and proteins (histone and adaptor proteins) forming chromosomes.

Chromosomes

Discrete strands of tightly packaged chromatin.

Chronic Mountain Sickness

A disease characterized loss of adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia. Signs include severe polycythemia (increased blood volume occupied by red blood cells) and hypoxemia (lack of oxygenation).

Codon

A sequence of three nucleotides along a DNA or RNA chain encoding a single amino acid, and start or stop.

Commensal

A relationship between organisms where one derives food or other benefits from the other without hurting or helping it.

Comparative Method

A method of evolutionary analysis that uses comparisons across independently evolved species, as a means for studying historical and physical constraints.

Coronary Thrombosis

Blockage of blood flow to the heart, caused by atherosclerosis and blood clotting in a coronary artery. The most common kind of heart attack.

Denisovans

An extinct hominin population contemporary with Neandertals that hybridized with ancient humans and Neandertals. Knowledge of Denisovan morphology is limited to two small fossils found in Siberia.

Derived Alleles

Variants arising since last common ancestor.

Developmental Adaptation

An irreversible biological characteristic acquired during growth and development in a stressful environment.

Diploid

Two sets of paired chromosomes.

Disease Phenotype

Outwardly apparent effects of a disease.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid. The molecule of inheritance, consisting of sequences of the four nucleotide building blocks (ATGC).

Enhancer

Short region of DNA that can be bound by proteins to alter transcription of a gene.

Epigenetic

Biological information not encoded directly in DNA.

Epigenome

Molecular modifications of the DNA and its associated histone proteins, affecting its function.

Euchromatin

Open chromatin, allowing information to be read.

Evolutionary Medicine

The application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease.

Falciparum Malaria

Human-specific (malignant) malaria caused by the protozoan parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

Fixed Alleles

Replaced all other alleles in a population.

Gene

DNA whose information encodes a function.

Gene Flow

Movement of alleles between populations.

Gene Regulation

Alterations of gene expression/activity.

Genetic Adaptation

A biological characteristic with a heritable basis that improves reproduction and/or survival and results from evolution by natural selection.

Genetic Drift

Loss of alleles by chance.

Genetics

The study of genes and their inheritance.

Genome

All DNA in a cell. Also refers to the DNA sequence that typifies an individual or species.

Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS)

An approach for “gene mapping” in which hundreds of thousands of SNPs are tested statistically for genetic associations with a phenotype.

Genomic Imprinting

Modification of the genome at the level of DNA (e.g. methylation) or its packaging into chromatin (histone tail modification via phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination or glycosylation).

Genomics

The study of genome structure/function.

Genotype

The two alleles at one or more diploid loci.

Great Apes

A taxonomic family that was once incorrectly used to denote chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans, but not humans.

Haploid

One set of unpaired chromosomes.

Haplotype

A set of alleles at distinct positions in the genome which are inherited together.

Health Disparity

Differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, and health care as experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.

Heterochromatin

Tightly wrapped and inactive chromatin.

Heterozygotes

Have two different alleles at a locus.

Histones

Chief protein components of chromatin and can be chemically modified as part of epigenetics.

Homeostasis

A relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

Hominid

A classification comprising all modern and extinct “Great Apes”and humans.

Hominin

A classification of species comprising human and extinct relatives (ex. Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Ardipithecus, etc.- not all are ancestral to humans) following the split with the common ancestor with chimpanzees.

Homo

The genus that comprises the species Homo sapiens, as well as several extinct species classified as ancestral to, or closely related to, humans.

Homo erectus

An extinct hominin species with fossil evidence from 1.9 million (possibly earlier) to 70 thousand years ago and found from Africa to Indonesia. May have been the first hominin to leave Africa. H. erectus DNA may be retrievable from other species due to archaic admixture. 

Homozygotes

Have two identical alleles at a locus

Hybridization

Breeding among recognized species.

Hygiene Hypothesis

A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms and parasites believed to increase susceptibility to allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Hypoxia

Less than the normal amount of oxygen reaching the tissues; also, low partial pressure of oxygen at high elevations (hypobaric hypoxia).

Intrauterine Life

The interval of life between conception and birth.

Introgression

Transfer of alleles between species.

Karyotype

Chromosome number in the cell nucleus.

Maintenance and Defense

An organism’s way of maintaining its body and physiological homeostasis while also defending against parasites, pathogens, and internal crises (e.g. cancer).

Meningococcus (Neisseria meningitidis)

A bacterium that can cause meningitis and meningococcemia, a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream (sepsis).

Middle Pleistocene

A period of geological time (781-126,000 years ago). An important time for the diversification of hominins, including the emergence of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)

Maternally inherited DNA found only in the mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of eukaryotic cells.Maternally inherited DNA found only in the mitochondria.

Morphology (Biology)

Shape or form (outward appearance) of an organism.  

The branch of biology interested in the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.

Muscular Dystrophy

A group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

Mutation

Change of a DNA sequence.

Neanderthals

An extinct Eurasian hominin species that existed from 500,000 to 30,000 years ago and interbred with ancient humans and Denisovans.

Obstetric Dilema

A biological constraint of bipedalism and large fetal brains imposed on the human female pelvis.

Pathogen

A bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.

Pathophysiology

Disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury.

Phenotype

Observable traits of an organism (result from interactions between genes and environment).

Phylogeny

Historical relationships of species or loci.

Pneumococcus

A bacterium that infects the lungs and sometimes the blood stream.

Polymorphism

An allelic difference observed in more than 1% of the population studied.

Population

A defined group of similar individuals among whom interbreeding occurs.

Post-translation Modifications

Alter mature protein.

Prader-Willi Syndrome

A genetic disorder usually caused by deletion of part of chromosome 15 inherited from the father, causing imbalance in sex-specific imprinting. Results in behavioral problems, intellectual disability, and short stature.

Preeclampsia

A pregnancy associated disorder characterized by high blood pressure and large amounts of protein in urine, typically accelerating during the third trimester.

Promotor

Region of DNA that initiates transcription of a particular gene.

Recombination

Exchanges between chromosomes that causes independent inheritance of alleles.

REM sleep

Rapid eye movement sleep, a phase of mammalian sleep characterized by random movement of eyes, low muscle tone, and vivid dreams.

Reproductive Debut

Age at which an individual initiates their reproductive career, influences lifetime reproductive success.

Selection

Allele frequency change over time caused by the different replication rate of specific alleles.

Sequence

The linear order of the building blocks, which encodes individual form and function.

Sialic Acids

Acidic molecules prominently found at the outermost fringes of the forest of sugar chains that cover all vertebrate cells.

Silver-Russell Syndrome

A complex genetic disorder affecting growth.

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs)

Single nucleotide differences (e.g. A vs. T).

Transcription

The first step in gene expression during which the nucleotide sequence of DNA is transcribed into an RNA molecule that can ultimately be translated into protein.

Transcription Factors

Proteins that bind to specific sequences of DNA called regulatory elements, or other proteins that do so, and directly or indirectly affect the initiation of transcription. The activities of transcription factors determine where and when genes are expressed.

Translation

The process by which RNA sequences are translated to amino acid sequences during protein synthesis.

Typhoid fever

A bacterial infection of Salmonella typhi spread through contaminated food, water, or close contact.

Variant

DNA that differs among groups studied.

Zoobiquity

A species-spanning approach to medicine that recognizes that animals and humans get many of the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely consult one another.