CARTA Glossary

Displaying 601 - 700 of 840 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Parental Effort

The sex with the lower rate of reproduction invests more in parental effort than in mating effort.

Parental Investment

The investment of resources (time, energy, provisions) into offspring.

Parental Investment Theory

The correlation between parental investment and mate choice where the greater the parental investment the more selective, and the lesser the investment the greater the access to more mates (Trivers, 1972).

Parietal Lobe (Brain)

One of the major lobes in the human brain, roughly located at the upper back in the skull (“crown”). It processes sensory information such as touch, taste, and temperature, spatial senses and navigation (proprioception), and language processing.

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.

Peripartum depression

Depression that occurs during pregnancy.

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)

A small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids (mescaline) that is native to Mexico and southwestern Texas.

Phenotype

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

Phonology

The sound patterns of language.

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.

Physiological trade-off

A compromise between different physiological needs of body functions.

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.

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.
PM2.5

A fine particulate matter (particles or droplets less than 3 microns in width) air pollutant that causes haze, reduces air quality, and can cause short- and long-term negative health effects.

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

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.

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.

Population bottleneck

The dramatic reduction in population size, which often results in a loss of genetic diversity.

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

Postmenopausal Longevity

The period of time after a woman has ceased ovulating. This life-stage is unique to humans and not expressed in non-human primates.

Postpartum depression

Depression that occurs after pregnancy. 15% of women experience depression after childbirth, making this the most common complication of childbirth.

Power

The product of work and speed (velocity).

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.

Prefrontal Cortex (Brain)

The cerebral cortex that covers the front part of the frontal lobe and is linked to complex cognitive behavior, personality, long and short-term memory, decision making, speech, language, and a person’s will to live.

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.

Presynaptic transport

The transport of vesicles containing neurotransmitters on the presynaptic side prior to release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft (chemical synapse).

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.

Primatology

The scientific discipline involving the study of living and extinct primates (monkeys and apes), especially their evolution and behavior. Modern primatology consists of Western and Japanese traditions that developed simultaneously but independently in the 1950s.

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.”

Prodigy

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

Productivity

The open-ended ability to combine meaningful linguistic units into new higher order units of meaning: for example, roots, prefixes (e.g. anti-), and suffixes (e.g. -ish) into words, and words (or signs) into phrases and sentences (Kluender, 2020).

Progesterone

A steroid and sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and embryogenesis of invertebrates and mammals.

Prokaryotes

Unicellular organisms that lack a membrane-bound nucleus, mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound organelle. This definition is now debated as some “prokaryotes,” such as archea (“extremophiles”), are more closely related to eukaryotes.

Prokayotes

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.

Propofol (Diprivan)

A short-acting medication, believed to work at least partly via GABA receptors, that is used for the starting and maintenance of general anesthesia, sedation for mechanically ventilated adults, and procedural sedation. Effects include decreased level of consciousness and a lack of memory for events.

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.

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.

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.

Pseudogene

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

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.

Psychostimulants

A broad class of drugs that stimulate sympathetic nerves and whose effects can include increased movement, arousal, vigilance, anorexia, vigor, wakefulness, and attention. Some psychostimulants, especially at high doses and with a rapid route of administration, can produce euphoria, a sense of power and confidence, and addiction. Cocaine is a psychostimulant.

Pulmonary Hypertension

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

Punctuated Equilibrium

An evolutionary model in which pronounced change takes place in short bursts followed by periods of evolutionary continuity. Compare with Continuity.

Pup

The term used to refer to an infant rodent (rat or mouse).

Pup Retrieval

An infant transport behavior in which the mother uses her mouth to gently carry a pup by the back of the neck. Mothers do this if pups crawl out of the nest or if she has to move her pups to a new nest location. In the laboratory, this behavior can be used as an index of maternal motivation because it is a proactive, voluntary response to an infant.

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.

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.

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.”

Receptor

A molecule on the surface of host cells used by pathogens for attachment and/or invasion. Examples: angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 (ACE2) used by SARS- CoV- 2; Sialic acid used by influenza A.

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.

Recombination

Exchanges between chromosomes that causes independent inheritance of alleles.

Regulatory elements

Binding sites on chromosomes for transcription factors, which are involved in gene regulation.

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.

Reproductive Success

An individual’s production of offspring per breeding event or lifetime (also includes the reproductive success of the offspring). Compare with Fitness (Darwninian).

Reproductive Tract (Human Female)

The external (labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening) and internal (clitoris, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries) sex organs that function in reproduction.

Reservoir (Medicine)

A population that is chronically infested with the causative agent of a disease and can act as a source of further infection.

Resilience

Capacity (potential or manifested) of a system to adapt successfully to challenges that threaten system function, survival, or development; positive adaptation in the context of significant adversity exposure.

Respiratory

Associated with the act of respiration or breathing.

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.

Rising Star Cave System

A system of caves in the Malmani dolomites of South Africa (and a part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site) where fossils of a previously unknown, extinct species of hominin, Homo naledi, were first discovered in 2013.

Risk

Higher probability of a negative (undesired) outcome.

Risk Factor

Indicator of risk for specified negative outcome in a population.

Rituals

A sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, and are often traditional to a community or religion. In psychology, a ritual is a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety.

RNA Binding Proteins (RBP)

Proteins that bind RNA

RNA virus

A virus that has RNA (ribonucleic acid) as its genetic material. This nucleic acid is usually single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) but may be double-stranded RNA (dsRNA).

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.

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.  

Salmonella

A genus of rod-shaped Gram-negative bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae and is divided by serovar type as either “non-typhoidal” Salmonella or “typhoidal” Salmonella. Salmonella enter the body through ingestion, often through consumption of contaminated meat, eggs, milk, or other foods that have come into contact with animal fecal matter. Its niche is in the intestines.

Salmonella enterica

A bacterium species of the genus Salmonella. Most cases of salmonellosis in humans is caused by S. enterica, often via infected cattle or poultry, including eggs. S. enterica can be divided in six subspecies and comprise over 2,000 serovars.

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