CARTA Glossary

Displaying 101 - 171 of 171 defined words for "Comparative Anthropogeny: From Molecules to Societies". To see all CARTA defined words, please view the complete glossary.

Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Menopause

The time of life when female menstruation naturally and permanently ceases.

Mentalizing

The process of representing and reasoning about the mental states, thought, and feelings of the self and others. Also known as Theory of Mind.

Mesoderm

The middle of the three primary germ layers formed in embryonic development and develops into the muscles of the cardiac and skeletal systems, the skeleton and connective tissue, blood vessels and cells, and some other internal organs such as the kidneys and gonads.

Microglia

A type of glia that functions as the primary innate immune cells of the central nervous system and are involved in brain development and maintenance. These cells are not of neuronal origin but rather migrate from the yolk sac to the brain during embryogenesis.

Molecule

A group of two or more atoms bonded together to form the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound that can take part in a chemical reaction.

Monosaccharides

A simple sugar; the most basic unit of a carbohydrate.

Myelin Sheaths

Sleeves of fatty tissue (wrapped cell membrane) that protect nerve cells.

N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac)

The most common sialic acid in most vertebrates and was first discovered in animal saliva and brains.

N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc)

A common variant of sialic acid in many vertebrates that is not made by humans but can be incorporated from diets rich in red meat.

Natural Antibodies (NAb)

A type of antibody that exists in the absence of active immunization via infection and/or contact with fetal antigens during pregnancy as a first line of defense until a specific antibody response is mounted.

Neoplasia

The new growth of cells proliferating without regard to stop signals and with attendant new blood vessels that forms a neoplasm.

Neoplasm

A tumor mass, either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer), that is composed of cells that have lost their regulatory checks and multiply without control or do not undergo pre-programmed cell death.

Neuron

A specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses.

Niche construction

A form of ecological inheritance in which organisms alter the environment in ways that affect the developmental context and selection pressures acting on subsequent generations.

Nucleic acid

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. The overall name for DNA and RNA, which are composed of nucleotides.

Nucleotide

Molecular building blocks for DNA and RNA Specifically, they consist of three components: a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. The type of sugar, either deoxyribose or ribose, determines if the resulting nucleic acid is DNA or RNA.

Number

Exact symbolic quantifier that designates the cardinality of a collection of objects. It is abstract (i.e., it transcends perceptual modalities), relational, and operable. In its most prototypical case it is associated with the familiar counting sequence ‘1, 2, 3, . . . ’

Numeral

A sign for a number, such as the Hindu-Arabic digit ‘5’, the Roman ‘V’, or the French word ‘cinq’, that signify the number five.

Numerosity

A scale of measurement for evaluating the numerousness of stimuli (e.g., a collection of discriminable objects) utilized especially by psychophysicists in the mid-20th century, and by means of which an experimenter establishes the cardinal attribute of physical collections of objects.

Numerousness

A property or attribute of a stimulus (discrete quantities) which can be measured by an investigator in units of numerosity.

Pair bonding

Forming a close relationship with another individual through courtship and sexual activity.

Paired receptors

Related membrane proteins that have similar extracellular appearance but opposite signaling functions and are found in pairs or clusters primarily on immune cells.

Parasite

An organism that lives on or in a host organism at the expense of the host.

Parasitism (Biology)

A close relationship between two organisms where one benefits at the expense of the other.

Pathogen

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

Phenotype

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

Phonology

The sound patterns of language.

Phytanic Acid

A branched chain fatty acid produced during the digestion of chlorophyll, especially in foregut fermenting species (ruminants) that consume plant materials. Humans obtain phytanic acid by consuming dairy products, ruminant animals, and some fish.

Phytanic Acid Metabolism (in humans)

Eating ruminants (red meat and dairy) creates special demands on detoxifying metabolism as phytanic acid (lipids) from plants eaten by ruminants can be toxic to humans.

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.

Polysialic acid

A homopolymer of sialic acids abundant in the brain and fish eggs and found on certain pathogenic bacteria.

Prion

A type of abnormal, pathogenic protein that can cause other, normal, proteins to similarly misfold. Prions are involved in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as “mad cow disease.”

Prokayotes

Unicellular organisms that lack a membrane- bound nucleus, mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound organelle. (see Eukaryotes)

Protein

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. Proteins are molecules encoded by DNA sequences and composed of amino acids connected by peptide bonds. These range in size from a few amino acids (short peptides) to large molecules (long polypeptides) comprised of thousands of amino acids.

Pseudogene

A gene that has lost its function. Some pseudogenes may be translated into a protein, but typically the protein is inactive.

Quantical

Pertaining to quantity-related cognition (e.g., subitizing) that is shared by many species and which provides biological evolved preconditions for numerical cognition and arithmetic, but is itself not about number or arithmetic. Quantical processing seems to be about many sensorial dimensions other than number, and does not, by itself, scale up to produce number and arithmetic.

Quantifier (natural)

Determiners or pronouns which occur in various degrees in all natural languages and indicate the magnitude of quantities, such as the English ‘few’ or ‘many’.

Quantitative

Relating to, measuring, or measured by the quantity of something rather than its quality.

Recessive allele

A genetic variant that only has a phenotypic effect if it is present in two copies, except on most of an X-chromosome where a single copy is expressed when paired with a Y-chromosome as much of the Y does not correspond to the X and lacks X-linked genes.

Retrotransposons

A type of transposable element, or “jumping gene,” that copies and pastes itself into different genomic locations through reverse transcription (converting RNA back into DNA).

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)

A molecule essential in gene coding, decoding, regulation, and expression. RNA consists of sequences of the four nucleotide bases: Adenine, Uracil, Guanine, and Cytosine. Types of RNA include messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), small nuclear RNA (snRNA), and other non-coding RNAs. Some viruses including Influenza A and Sars-Cov-2 have RNA genomes.

Rogue protein

Misfolded proteins that cause damage, particularly resulting in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and mad cow disease. The abnormal shape of these proteins can be triggered by another type of protein, called a prion.

Sabre-tooth felids

Extinct large cats characterized by long, curved sabre-shaped canine teeth that protruded from the mouth when closed. Three genera are known from Early Pleistocene East Africa: Dinofells, Megantereon, and Homotherium.

Self-associated molecular patterns (SAMPS)

A class of molecular patterns that signal intrinsic inhibitory receptors of immune cells to remain in or return to their baseline, non-activated state.

Serum (blood)

The fluid, or plasma, constituent of blood and does not contain clotting proteins.

Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINEs)

A type of retrotransposon, or transposable element (“jumping genes”) that are abundant, non-autonomous, non-coding, and are 100 - 700 base pairs in length such as Alu elements.

Sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins (Siglec)

Cell-surface proteins that bind sialic acid. They are primarily found on immune cell surfaces. These sialic acid–binding proteins that are members of the I-type lectin family and have an outer terminal with a typically conserved amino acid sequence.

Sialic acids

Family of acidic sugars with a nine-carbon backbone. They are found at the outermost fringes of the sugar chains (glycans) that cover all vertebrate cells. The two most common sialic acids in mammals are N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc).

Siglec chimera

The extra-cellular, sialic acid binding portion of a Siglec protein fused to another protein domain and transgenically expressed in a cell line. They are used to study Siglec binding.

Siglec-11

An innate immune receptor expressed uniquely in human brain microglia cells.

Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)

A variation involving a single base-pair, occurring in at least 1% of the population.

Social Institutions

Established rules or norms that result in stable patterns of behavior within a community.

Stroma

The structural framework of an organ or tissue.

Stromal fibroblasts

The common type of cells of stroma, they synthesize the extracellular matrix and collagen, and are also involved in wound healing.

Subitizing

The quick, reliable, and accurate discrimination of small quantities (usually within numerosities 1–4).

Symbiont

An organism that lives in a symbiosis providing benefits to its host.

Symbiosis

A close and long-term biological interaction between two different biological organisms, be it mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic.

Syntax

The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.

Trans (molecular interactions)

Receptors expressed on a cell surface that bind ligands on a different cell surface or between a cell surface and an extra-cellular molecule.

Transmembrane protein

A type of cell membrane protein that spans the width of the membrane and functions as a gateway for specific substances to enter or leave the cell or as a signaling molecule.

Transmissible (Disease)

Illnesses that are transmitted from one host to another though direct or indirect contact, via a vector or contaminated food and water. Synonymous with communicable and infectious.

Transposable elements (TE)

DNA sequence that can change its position within a genome, sometimes creating or reversing mutations and altering the cell’s genetic identity and genome size. They can also be referred to as “jumping genes”. They were discovered by Barbara McClintock and she earned the Nobel Prize in 1983 for that discovery. These sequences can be considered a type of “molecular parasite” within the genome.

Type 1 Membrane protein

A type of transmembrane protein oriented with the amino-terminal facing outside the cell.

V-set domain (Siglec)

The outermost protein domain of Siglec proteins and contains the sialic acid binding site.

Variation (Biology)

The differences among the individuals of the same species.

Vector (Epidemiology)

Any agent which carries and transmits an infectious pathogen to another living organism. Most agents that act as vectors are living organisms.

Virus

A submicroscopic infectious agent 10 million times smaller than a human that relies on a living host cell for metabolic processes and replication. Like living organisms, viruses possess genes and evolve by natural selection. Unlike living organisms, viruses lack cellular structure, do not have their own metabolism, instead relying on a living host cell for production of materials, and replication through self-assembly inside a host cell.

Wernicke’s area

An important brain region involved in comprehension of written and spoken language.

White blood cells (WBCs)

A type of immune cell involved in protecting the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders. WBCs are also called leukocytes.

X-chromosome

One of the two allosomes of the mammalian genome that determine sex. The X-chromosome can be inherited maternally and paternally.

Y-chromosome

One of the two allosomes of the mammalian genome that determine sex. The Y-chromosome can only be inherited paternally.

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