CARTA Glossary

Displaying 1 - 66 of 66 defined words for "Cellular and Molecular Explorations of Anthropogeny". To see all CARTA defined words, please view the complete glossary.

Word Definition Related Vocabulary
"Great Apes"

A taxonomic family denoting the extant chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. This is biologically invalid grouping given that chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans

Admixture

Breeding between isolated populations.

Allele

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

Antagonistic Pleiotropy

A phenomenon whereby multiple influences of the same gene have opposite effects on the fitness of the organism

ARHGAP11B

A human-specific protein coding gene that promotes amplification of basal progenitors in the subventricular zone, producing more neurons during fetal cortical development. It has been implicated in the evolutionary expansion of the human brain neocortex.

Basal Ganglia (Brain)

Subcortical nuclei in the base of the forebrains of vertebrates, including humans, which are involved with a variety of functions including control of voluntary motor movements, procedural learning, and routine behaviors or “habits” such as teeth grinding, eye movements, cognition, and emotion.

Basal Progenitor

A cortical neural progenitor cell which undergoes replication and division. Basal progenitor cells are a subset that lie in the subventricular zone and lack contact with the neighboring ventricle—only contacting the outer, basal, surface—and contribute to the expansion of the outer cortex.

Basal Radial Glia

A primary progenitor cell capable of generating neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Basal radial glia and outer radial glia are defined by their position, morphology, and genetic phenotype.

Chromosome

Discrete strands of tightly packaged chromatin.

Codon

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

Cranial Neural Crest Cells Cells that become the structures of the endocranium and face.
Daughter Neuron

Resulting cell(s) formed when neural stem cells or progenitor cells undergo cellular division.

Denisovans

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

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid. The molecule of inheritance, which consists of sequences of the four nucleotide bases: Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine.

FOXP2 A gene in humans that encodes for a transcription factor protein and is involved in the production of speech.
Gene

A DNA sequence which encodes a specific function.

Gene Flow

Movement of alleles between populations as is achieved by mating.

Genetic Adaptation

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

Genetic Drift

Change in allele frequencies, including fixation and loss, by chance.

Genome

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

Genotype

The two alleles at one or more diploid loci.

Germinal Zone A region where cell division and proliferation occurs during vertebrate central nervous system development consisting of 2 layers lining the ventricles (ventricular zone and subventricular zone).
Hemideletion

One of two paired chromosomes is affected by a deletion. The other chromosome is intact. 

Hominid

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

Hominin

A classification of species comprising humans and our extinct relatives 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.

Hybridization

Breeding among recognized species.

Indel

An insertion or deletion of a DNA sequence.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)

Somatic (body) cells that are artificially reprogrammed to an embryonic-like stem cell state and differentiated into other types of cells.

Introgression

Transfer of alleles between species.

Locus (pl. Loci)

A unique physical position on a chromosome.

Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR)

A protein kinase, which in humans is encoded by the MTOR gene.

Medium Spiny Neurons

A special type of GABAergic inhibitory cell representing 95% of neurons within the human striatum, a basal ganglia structure.

Mutation

Change in a DNA or RNA sequence.

Neanderthals

An extinct Eurasian hominin species that existed from 500-30 kya and interbred with ancient humans and Denisovans.

Neocortex

A part of the cerebral cortex concerned with sight, hearing, and touch in mammals, regarded as the most recently evolved part of the cortex.

Nerve A bundle of fibers that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs.
Nervous System

The network of nerve cells and fibers that transmits nerve impulses between parts of the body.

Neural circuit

A neural circuit is a functional entity of interconnected neurons that is able to regulate its own activity using a feedback loop.

Neural Progenitor Cell

Cells that are capable of dividing a limited number of times and have the capacity to differentiate into a restricted repertoire of neuronal and glial cell types.

Neural Stem Cell A self-renewing, multipotent cell that generates the neurons and glia of the nervous system of all animals during embryonic development. Some persist in the adult vertebrate brain and continue to produce neurons throughout life.
Neurobiology

The study of the morphology, behavior, and other qualities of the nervous system.

Neurogenetics

The study of the role of genetics in the development and function of the nervous system.

Neuron

A specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses.

Nuclear Pore Complex Protein and ribonucleoprotein transport channels in the nuclear envelop of eukaryotic cells. Evolved ~ 1.5 billion years ago. While the primary role of NPCs is to regulate nucleo–cytoplasmic transport, recent research suggests that certain NPC proteins have additionally acquired the role of affecting gene expression at the nuclear periphery and in the nucleoplasm in metazoans.
Nucleoporin 98 (Nup98) A protein coding gene that plays a role in the nuclear pore complex assembly and/or maintenance. Associated diseases range from Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Monocytic Leukemia.
Organoid Cell/tissue culture in vitro that aims to mimic organ structure and function.
Outer Radial Glia

Found in the outer subventricular zone of the neocortex, outer radial glia preferentially express genes related to extracellular matrix formation, migration, and stemness.

Outer Subventricular Zone A uniquely structured germinal zone that generates the expanded primate supragranular layers.
Phenotype

Observable traits of an organism that result from interactions between genes and environment during development.

Phylogeny

Historical relationships of species or loci.

Polymorphism

The “many forms,” or genetic variants, of a single gene that exist and are maintained in a population at a frequency of 1% or higher.

POM121 A gene that encodes for transmembrane nucleoporin, a protein that localizes to the inner nuclear membrane and forms a core component of the nuclear pore complex, which mediates transport to and from the nucleus.
Population

A defined group of similar individuals among whom interbreeding occurs.

Pyramidal neurons

A type of neuron found in the mammalian cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, and amygdala of the brain. They are the most abundant excitatory cell type and receive both excitatory and inhibitory input.

Reading-Frame A way of dividing the sequence of nucleotides in a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) molecule into a set of consecutive, non-overlapping triplets called codons.
Reading-Frame Shift A genetic mutation caused by indels (insertions or deletions) of a number of nucleotides in a DNA sequence that is not divisible by three.
Selection

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

Sequencing

Reading the order of nucleotides in DNA.

Single Clonal Lineage Analysis A system for labeling and following a single progenitor cell and its daughter cells as they proliferate and mature.
Species

A biological population whose individuals can mate with one another to produce viable and fertile offspring. This is a debated definition and the concept is problematic for extinct fossil organisms for which DNA is not available.

SRGAP2

A gene on chromosome 1 that encodes for a protein that plays a role in cortical neuron development. Duplications of this gene are unique only to humans.

Subventricular Zone Describes both embryonic and adult neural tissues in the vertebrate nervous system.
Transcription Factor Proteins

A protein that alters gene expression by binding directly or indirectly to DNA

Variant

DNA that differs among groups studied.

Ventricular Zone A transient embryonic layer of tissue containing neural stem cells, principally radial glial cells, of the central nervous system of vertebrates.