CARTA Glossary

Displaying 201 - 300 of 332 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Mircofossils

Fossils or fossil fragments of bacteria, protists, fungi, animals, and plants (e.g.: starch granules) that can only be seen with a microscope.

miRNA

Short non-coding regulatory microRNA

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.

Morphology (Linguistics)

The sub-discipline of linguistics concerned with the structure and parts of words (stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes), how words are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language. Parts of speech, intonation and stress, and contextual pronunciation and meaning are aspects of Morphology.

Mortality Salience

Conscious understanding and realization of personal mortality.

Motor Cortex

The part of the cerebral cortex in the brain where the nerve impulses originate that initiate voluntary muscular activity.

Mousterian (Mode 3)

A stone tool type characterized by hand-axes, scrapers, triangle points, and denticulates produced using a prepared core (Levallois Technique) and is most associated with Neanderthals. ~315 kya to 30 kya

Muscular Dystrophy

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

Mutation

Change of a DNA sequence.

MYA

Million years ago.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The pathogenic bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

Neanderthals

An extinct Eurasian hominin species that existed from 500,000 to 30,000 years ago 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.

Neurological

Relating to the anatomy, functions, and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system.

Neuron

A specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses.

Neuropsychology

The study of the relationship between behavior, emotion, and cognition and brain function.

Neurotypical

Not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior.

Never

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

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.
Obesity

Excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. Defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Obligate Tool User

Use of tools is a necessity. Tool use is an essential part of being human and we are the only known obligate tool users.

Obligate Tool User

Use of tools is a necessity. Tool use is an essential part of being human and we are the only known obligate tool users.

Obstetric Dilema

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

Odds Ratio (in GWAS)

The ratio between the odds of individuals having a phenotype associated with a specific allele and the odds of the same phenotype for individuals who do not have that same allele. 

Oldowan (Type 1) Tools

A stone tool characterized by simple “choppers” for pounding, breaking, and bashing. ~2.6 mya - 1.7 mya. 

Omnivore

An organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet of plant, animal, and fungal origin.

Ontogeny

The origin and development of an organism (from fertilization of the egg to the organism’s mature form).  Can also refer to the study of an organism’s lifespan.

Optimism Bias

An almost universally human cognitive bias that seems to cause individuals to believe that they are at less risk of experiencing a negative event and more likely to experience a positive outcome compared to other people.

Optogenetic

A biological technique that involves the use of light to control gene expression and cellular function in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.

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.
Pair bonding

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

Paleolithic

A broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with Stone Age. It is divided into Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic. ~3.4 mya - 10 kya

Paranthropus

A genus of extinct bipedal hominins dating to ~ 2.6 mya to 1.1 mya that lived throughout eastern and south Africa. Their robust cranialdental anatomy suggests an adaptation to a diet of tough vegetation. Possible tool use is indicated by hands adapted for precision grasping. They probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominids (Australopithecus) ~2.7 million years ago, hence their alternative name, robust australopithecine, and ongoing debate on genus.

Pathogen

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

Pathophysiology

Disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury.

PCR

Polymerase chain reaction. A method of copying a specified locus.

Perciption

The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

Phenotype

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

Phonology

The system that combines meaningless speech sounds into meaningful words.

Phylogenetic Tree

A diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species, or other entities, based on their physical or genetic characteristics.

Phylogeny

Historical relationships of species or loci.

Plasticity

The adaptability of an organism to changes in its environment or differences between its various habitats.

Pleistocene

A geological epoch from ~2.5 mya to 11.7 kya characterized by a period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology. Subdivisions:

Early (Lower) Pleistocene: ~2.588 mya to 781 kya.
Middle Pleistocene: Emergence of Homo sapiens. 781 kya to 126 kya.
Late (Upper) Pleistocene: 126 kya to 11.7 kya.

Pneumococcus

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

Polygenic

Relating to or determined by two or more genes.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

A method of copying a specified locus.

Polymorphism

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

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.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Neuroimaging

A functional imaging technique used to observe metabolic process in the body.

Post-translation Modifications

Alter mature protein.

Posterior Parietal Cortex

The portion of the parietal neocortex that plays an important role in planned movements, spatial movements, spatial reasoning, and attention.

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.

Prepared Core (Levallois Technique)

A method of creating stone tools by first striking flakes off the stone, or core, along the edges to create the prepared core and then striking the prepared core in such a way that the intended tool is flaked off with all of its edges pre-sharpened.

Primary Somatosensory Cortex

A region of the Neocortex that controls tactile representation from the parts of the body.

Primates

A group of mammals that include humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians.

Prodigy

A person, especially a young one, endowed with exceptional qualities or abilities.

Promotor

Region of DNA that initiates transcription of a particular gene.

Prosimian

A group of primates that includes all living and extinct galagos, lemurs, lorises, and tarsiers. They are considered to have characteristics that are more “primitive” (ancestral) than those of monkeys, apes, and humans.

Psychological Evolutionary Barrier

The mental equivalent of a physiological evolutionary barrier (such as the difficulty of evolving from an aquatic existence to living on land). A hypothetical concept.

Pyramidal Neurons

A type of multipolar neuron found in areas of the brain including the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. Pyramidal neurons are the primary excitation units of the mammalian prefrontal cortex and the corticospinal tract.

Radial Glia

A primary progenitor cell capable of generating neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Radial glia are defined by their position, morphology, and genetic phenotype. These cells are involved in establishing a temporary scaffold for cortical layer development.

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.
Reality Denial

A subconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge (or rationalization of) unwanted or unpleasant facts, realities, thoughts, or feelings. Related Term: “Denialism.”

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.

RNA Binding Proteins (RBP)

Proteins that bind RNA

Sahelanthropus tchadensis (Toumaï)

An extinct archaic species of hominin dating close to the split between the chimpanzee-human split, ~7 mya.  A probable ancestor to Orrorin tugenensis and may have walked bipedally.  

Savanna-Woodland Mosaic

A transitory ecotone between the tropical moist broadleaf forests of Equatorial Africa and the drier savannas and open woodlands to the north and south of the forest belt. The forest-savanna mosaic consists of drier forests, often gallery forest, interspersed with savannas and open grasslands.

Savant

A person affected with a mental disability who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field.

Savant Syndrome

is a loose term that refers to people who have a combination of significant cognitive difficulties, often stemming from autism, and profound skills.

Scavengers

Organisms that search for and feed on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse.

Selection

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

Self-Awareness

Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

Semantics (Linguistics)

The study of the logic and meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text.

Sequence

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

Sequencing

Reading the order of nucleotides in DNA.

Shotgun

Sequencing cuts the genome into short chunks that are read and reassembled by a computer.

Sialic Acids

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

Silent Mutations

No change to the phenotype.

Silver-Russell Syndrome

A complex genetic disorder affecting growth.

Single Clonal Lineage Analysis A system for labeling and following a single progenitor cell and its daughter cells as they proliferate and mature.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs)

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

Social

Relating to society or its organization.

Social Bond

The degree to which an individual is integrated into the society, or ‘the social’. Social bond is the binding ties or social bonding to the family. Social bond also includes social bonding to the school, to the workplace and to the community.

Social Referencing

A process where an individual takes cues from other people in the environment, about which emotions and actions are appropriate in a certain context or situation. 

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