CARTA Glossary

Displaying 101 - 200 of 523 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Congenital

A disease or physical abnormality present from birth.

Conspecifics

Members of the same species.

Contagious (Disease)

Infectious diseases that can be spread from organism to organism by direct or indirect contact. Contagious disease is a subset of communicable, infectious, and transmissible.

Continuity (aka Phyletic Gradualism)

An evolutionary model in which change occurs gradually over time. Compare with Punctuated Equilibrium.

Control Group

A group of individuals in a medical study who receive either no treatment or the standard treatment, which is compared against a group who receive the treatment being studied.

Copy Number Variation

A phenomenon in which sections of the genome are repeated on the same or different chromosome and the number of repeats in the genome varies between individuals in the human population.  Such repeats can include functional genes.

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.

Coronavirus

A member of the large, single-stranded RNA virus family (Coronaviridae) named for their ring, or corona, shape. They are also characterized by a fatty outer lining that is covered with club-shaped spike proteins. Coronaviruses are known to infect many mammals (including us humans) and birds. Different coronaviruses are responsible for causing MERS, SARS, and COVID-19.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

An infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and then spread globally, resulting in a pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, sputum production, and muscle and joint pains, and loss of smell and taste. Severe cases may progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-organ failure, septic shock, and blood clots. Spread of the virus occurs between people during close contact, most often via small droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and talking. Less commonly, people may become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face.

Cortical Fields

A segment of the cerebral cortex that carries out a given function.

Cortical-Basal Ganglia

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, routine behaviors or “habits” such as teeth grinding, eye movements, cognition, and emotion.

Corvids (Corvidae)

The family of stout-billed passerine birds (an order of birds characterized by an arrangement of toes with three forward and one backward to facilitate perching) including the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers.

Corvus brachyrhynchos

The American crow.

Coverage

The number of reads for a given locus.

CpG site

Locus where a cytosine nucleotide is followed by guanine nucleotide in the linear sequence of bases. Cytosines in CpG dinucleotides can be methylated to form 5-methyl cytosine, a common epigenetic mark.

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

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. A method that can mutate a specified locus.

Culture

Behavior and norms that are shared, learned, and socially transmitted.

Cumulative Cooperative Culture

In human culture, the accumulation of cultural modifications over time (“ratchet effect”) resulting from social learning, active teaching, social motivations for conformity, and normative sanctions against non-conformity.

Cytidine monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (Cmah)

An enzyme that is encoded by the CMAH gene. In most mammals, this enzyme modifies sialic acids [it modifies N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) into N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc)]. The human lineage lost the function of the CMAH gene over 2 million years ago causing human cells to lack Neu5Gc and be coated with an excess of Neu5Ac.

Cytokine “Storm”

A severe immune reaction in which the body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly. Signs and symptoms include high fever, inflammation, severe fatigue, and nausea. This may be severe or even life- threatening, leading to multiple organ failure.
 

Cytokines

A broad and loose category of small proteins secreted by certain cells of the immune system and are important in cell signaling and have an effect on other cells.

Daughter Neuron

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

de Novo

A Latin adverb meaning “from the new.” A new genetic variant that is the result of a mutation in a germ cell (egg or sperm) of one of the parents, or a variant that arises in the fertilized egg during embryogenesis. (See Novel)

Demography

Study of population size over time.

Dengue Fever

A tropical disease caused by the Dengue virus and spread several species of female Aedes mosquitos, especially A. aegypti. Symptoms may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. Severe infections may develop into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

A severe form of Dengue Fever, which includes bleeding and blood platelet and blood plasma leakage.

Dengue Shock Syndrome

A severe form of Dengue Fever in which dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

Dengue Virus

The cause of Dengue Fever. It is a mosquito- borne, single positive-stranded RNA virus of the genus, Flavivirus. Origin: Africa and Asia.

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.

Dental Calculus

Calcified dental plaque, provides information on diet, disease, health, microbiome and protects the genetic information within the tooth from degradation.

Derived Alleles

Variants arising since last common ancestor.

Developmental Adaptation

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

Developmental Amnesia

A selective disorder characterized by marked impairment in episodic memory despite relatively preserved semantic memory.

Developmental Cascade

Spreading effects over time across systems or domains of function that result from interactions in dynamic systems and cumulatively alter development.

Developmental Tasks

Psychosocial milestones or accomplishments expected of people of different ages in a given cultural and historical context; Common developmental tasks include bonding with caregivers, walking, talking, learning to read, getting along with other people, and caring for one’s children.

Diploid

Organisms with two sets of each chromosome except for XY sex chromosomes in male mammals.

Disease Phenotype

Outwardly apparent effects of a disease.

Divergence

Change in genetic content or phenotype between isolated populations or species.

Djurab Desert

Northern Chad.  A fossil rich desert that is most famous for the discovery of Sahelenthropous tchadensis (Toumai) in 2001. 

DNA

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

DNA Methylation

A process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. Methylation can change the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence. When located in a gene promoter, DNA methylation typically acts to repress gene transcription.

DNA Sequence

The specific order of the nucleotide bases Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine.

Dose or Risk Gradient

A graph showing a pattern of rising problems or undesirable outcomes as the level of trauma, exposure to disaster, or number of cumulative risk factors or ACEs increases.

Dual Inheritance

A theory that human behavior is a product of two different and interacting evolutionary processes: genetic evolution and cultural evolution. Genes and culture continually interact in a feedback loop.

Dyslexia

A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpreting words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

A rare but serious and often fatal infection of Togavirus that causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The virus is maintained via a bird- to-mosquito cycle, primarily by mosquitos that feed on the blood of birds. Transmission of EEE to mammals (including horses and humans) occurs via “bridge vectors,” mosquito (including those from the Aedes genus) that feed on the blood of both birds and mammals and transfer the virus. Origin: Americas.

Ecology

The interaction of organisms with their physical environment, along with other organisms.

Effective Population Size (Ne)

The size of an idealized population (random mating, no selection, mutation or migration) with the same rate of genetic drift as the study population.

Elephants (Elephantidae)

Large herbivorous mammals recognized by their long trunks, tusks, large ear flaps, and pillar-like legs. Elephants are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia and consist of three species, the Africa bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), the African forest elephant (L. cyclotis), and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

Endemic

In epidemiology, an infection that is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a population in a geographic area without external inputs.

Enhancer

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

Epidemic

The rapid spread of a disease to a significant percent of a given population.

Epidemiology

The branch of medicine that studies and analyzes the incidence, distribution, patterns, determinants, and possible control of diseases and other health factors.

Epigenetic

Biological information not encoded directly in DNA.

Epigenetics

A term first coined by the developmental biologist, Conrad Waddington, in 1942 to explain how a singular genotype might produce variations in phenotype across development. He argued that some level of regulation must exists “above” or “over” genes to determine when and where they are expressed. Today the term refers to stable alterations in gene expression without changes to the underlying DNA sequence.

Epigenome

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

Euchromatin

Open chromatin, allowing information to be read.

Eukaryotes

Organisms whose cells have a nucleus enclosed within membranes. (see Prokaryotes)

Evolutionary Medicine

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

Exons

Sequences at a locus that encode proteins

Falciparum Malaria

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

Falémé Valley

Eastern Senegal. Excavations have led to the the discovery of paleolithic occupations from different periods, cultures, and lithic technologies.  

False Beliefs

The ability to recognize that others can have beliefs about the world that are diverging. An important component of Theory of Mind.

Fatty Acid

A molecule composed of a long chain of lipid-carboxylic acid, which is either saturated (single bonds between the components of the fatty acid chain) or unsaturated (at least one double bond within the fatty acid chain).

Fitness (Darwinian)

The relative likelihood that an allele will be represented in future generations (relative to other alleles in the same population). Compare with Reproductive Success.

Fixed Alleles

Replaced all other alleles in a population.

Fomite

Inanimate objects (clothes, furniture, door handles, etc.) that when contaminated can transfer disease.

Foraging

Searching for wild food or provisions as opposed to cultivating food crops.

Fos

A protein that is rapidly synthesized in neurons when they become active and therefore is used as a marker of neuron activity and is involved in regulating gene expression.

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

A measure of abnormal mothering in rodents. Fragmentation score reflects disruptions in the temporal pattern of care typically displayed by rodents. High fragmentation scores indicate shorter nursing bouts and generally erratic behavior.

Frontoparietal Networks

Human frontal and parietal lobes form a network that is crucially involved in the selection of sensory contents by attention.

Functional DNA

Encodes biological information.
~2% of all DNA: Codes for proteins.
~80% of all DNA: Regulates gene activity.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

A neuroimaging technique for measuring and mapping brain activity that is noninvasive and safe. The phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is used to generate a signal that can be mapped and turned into an image of brain activity.

Funeral

Intentional, ritualistic disposal of the deceased. May include behaviors such as placement of grave goods (artefacts and/or natural materials such as flowers) and positioning of interred body(ies).

Galago

A number of species of prosimians that are small, nocturnal, and native to continental Africa. Also known as bushbabies. Galagos often nest in tree hollows during the day. Chimpanzees have been observed hunting with “spears” for nested galagos, and they are also hunted by Hadza hunter-gatherers.

Gardnerella

A genus of Gram-variable-staining facultative anaerobic bacteria of which Gardnerella vaginalis is the only species.

Gardnerella vaginalis

A facultatively anaerobic Gram-variable rod that is involved, together with many other bacteria, in bacterial vaginosis in some women as a result of a disruption in the normal vaginal microflora.

Gastroenteritis

Inflammation of the stomach and small intestine typically caused by a virus, but can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Gene

DNA sequence which encodes a specific function.

Gene Expression

The process by which the information contained within a gene (nucleotide sequence) is used to direct protein synthesis and dictate cell function. Nearly all of the cells in the body contain identical genes, but only a subset of this information is used or expressed at any time. The genes expressed in a cell determine what that cell can do.

Gene Flow

Movement of alleles between populations as is achieved by mating.

Gene Regulation

Alterations of gene expression/activity.

Gene-Culture Co-Evolution Theory

A branch of theoretical population genetics that models the transmission of genes and cultural traits from one generation to the next, exploring how they interact. Also known as “biocultural evolution.”

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.

Genetics

The study of genes and their inheritance.

Genius

A person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect.

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.

Genotyping

Characterizing genetic variants at one or more loci.

Genus

A taxonomic rank used in biological classification of living and fossil organisms to group closely related species. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name plus species name forms the binomial species name (e.g. Homo sapiens).

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).
Glycans

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. Glycans consist of varying numbers of sugars (monosaccharides) attached to proteins or lipids or secreted as free glycans. Glycans are essential biomolecules whose functions can be divided into three broad categories: structural and modulatory properties (including nutrient storage and sequestration), specific recognition by other molecules, and molecular mimicry of host glycans.

Glycolipids

A type of a lipid (fat) with an attached glycan that functions to maintain the stability of the cell membrane and to facilitate cellular recognition. Glycolipids are crucial in immune response and tissue formation.

Glycoprotein

A class of proteins with covalently attached glycans. Glycoproteins play a part in important cellular functions like embryonic development, cell-to-cell recognition, cell adhesion, and immune functions.

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