CARTA Glossary

Displaying 301 - 400 of 523 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Mind

The element of an individual that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. 

Mind Over Reality Transition (MORT)

A proposed singular phase in hominid evolution in which maladaptive mortality salience and death anxiety were triggered by acquiring the capacity for Extended Theory of Mind, but were (in this one instance) tolerated by the simultaneous acquisition of Reality Denial in the same minds - allowing gene culture-evolution to fix both capacities in the resulting hominin lineage, at the neurobiological and genetic level.

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

Maternally inherited DNA found only in the mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria are thought to descend from symbiotic bacteria that have become part of eukaryotic cells.

Molecular Mimicry

The phenomenon whereby one organism produces molecules that are identical or very similar to those of another organism (such as its host). Parasites and pathogens repeatedly evolve molecular mimicry for host manipulation and immune evasion.

Morbidity

The rate of disease in a population (as opposed to mortality, which is death rate).

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 (a stone tool with edges of multiple notched shapes, or teeth) produced using a prepared core (i.e. Levallois Technique) and is most associated with Neanderthals. ~315 - 30 kya.

Mucus

A slimy or gooey substance (hydrated bio-gel) produced by mucous membranes and glands for to lubricate or protect the body. The substance we refer to as “snot” or “boogers” are the mucus inside your nose that traps dirt and germs before they can enter further into your body and do you harm. Sneezing expels these invaders from your body but also propels them out towards other unsuspecting victims.

Muscular Dystrophy

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

Mutation

Change in a DNA or RNA sequence.

MYA

Million years ago.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The pathogenic bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

Neanderthals

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

Neglect

The failure to provide for the development of the child in all spheres: health, education, emotional development, nutrition, shelter, and safe living conditions (including protecting the child from harm). It is the most common form of child maltreatment. In rodents, neglect it is similarly defined as inconsistent care, failure to group displaced infants in the nest, infant avoidance and failure to protect infants from harm or potential harm.

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.

Neuromodulators

A subset of neurotransmitters that regulate diverse populations of other neurons.

Neuron

A specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses.

Neuropsychology

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

Neurostransmitter

A type of chemical messenger that transmits signals across a chemical synapse, such as a neuromuscular junction, from one neuron (nerve cell) to another “target” neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell.

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.

Non-Hormonal Basis of Maternal Care

The finding that care giving behavior can occur in female rats and mice that have not reproduced themselves through repeated exposure to infants.

Novel (Disease)

A new strain of a disease that has not been previously identified in a species. (See de Novo)

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.
Nucleic Acids

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

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.
Nucleotides

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.

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

Tool use is a necessity for survival. 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 (Mode 1)

A stone tool type characterized by simple “choppers” for pounding, breaking, and bashing. ~2.6 - 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.
Out of Africa

A hypothesis proposing the geographic origins of the genus Homo in Africa and migration of anatomically modern humans. These anatomically modern humans would have completely replaced the archaic human populations (Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc.) that had previously left Africa. This hypothesis emphasizes the African origin of our species but allows for the possibility of minor local contributions from archaic populations.

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. Subdivisions:

  • Lower Paleolithic: ~3.4 mya - 300 kya.
  • Middle Paleolithic: Consists of use of prepared cores (i.e. Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 - 30 kya.
  • Upper Paleolithic: Coincides with behavioral modernity and predates the advent of agriculture. Artifacts include finely crafted stone blades and bone and antler tools, such as harpoons and needles. ~50 - 10 kya.
Pandemic

An epidemic that has spread across regions, including multiple continents or worldwide.

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.

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.

Parental Behavior

Any behavior of a member of a species toward an immature conspecific that increases the likelihood that the immature organism will survive to maturity.

Pathogen

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

Pathogenesis

The biological mechanism (or mechanisms) that leads to a disease state and can also refer to the origin and development of a disease, and whether it is acute, chronic, or recurrent.

Pathogenicity

The absolute ability of an infectious agent to cause disease or damage in a host.

Pathophysiology

Disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury.

Peer Review (Academic Publishing)

The professional critique by other scholars or scientists from the same field that normally takes place before scholarly or scientific papers are accepted for publication.

Perciption

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

Phenotype

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

Phonology

The system that combines meaningless speech sounds into meaningful words.

Phylogenetic Tree

A branching 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.

Plasmodium

A genus of single-celled organisms that are obligate parasites of vertebrates and insects. In humans, malaria is caused by multiple species of Plasmodium and transmitted by mosquitos (commonly female Anopheles mosquitos).

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 archeology. Subdivisions:

  • Early (Lower) Pleistocene: ~2.58 mya - 781 kya.
  • Middle Pleistocene: Emergence of Homo sapiens. 781 - 126 kya.
  • Late (Upper) Pleistocene: 126 - 11.7 kya.
Pneumococcus

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

Poised Gene

The idea that some genes are more easily expressed because of their chromatin state.

Polygenic

Relating to a trait determined by two or more genes. Most traits of organisms are polygenic.

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.

Preprint (Academic Publishing)

A version of a scholarly or scientific paper that has not yet been formally peer reviewed. It is freely available before it is published as a finished product in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal, which often include costly paywalls. It is generally not good practice for news outlets to report on preprinted results because they have not been peer-reviewed.

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.

Prokaryotes

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

Promotive Factor

Predictor of positive outcome under most conditions, whether risk is low or high.

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.

Protective Factor

Moderator of risk or adversity associated with better outcomes particularly when risk or adversity is high.

Proteins

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 animo acids (short peptides) to large molecules (long polypeptides) comprised of hundreds of amino acids.

Protozoa

An informal term for unicellular (single celled) eukaryotes, either free-living or parasitic.

pS6

A ribosomal subunit that is activated by intracellular cascades and therefore used as a marker for neuron activity. This subunit is physically attached to RNA molecules that are being translated into protein and therefore can also provide information about which genes are expressed in active neurons.

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.

Psychopathology

The study of mental disorders.

Pulmonary Hypertension

High blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs. Also affects the right side of the heart.

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