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Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Glossary




The first widely used algorithm for database similarity searching. The program looks for optimal local alignments by scanning the sequence for small matches called "words". Initially, the scores of segments in which there are multiple word hits are calculated ("init1"). Later the scores of several segments may be summed to generate an "initn" score. An optimized alignment that includes gaps is shown in the output as "opt". The sensitivity and speed of the search are inversely related and controlled by the "k-tup" variable which specifies the size of a "word". (Pearson and Lipman) (NCBI)

Filial generation (F1, F2)

Each generation of offspring in a breeding program, designated F1, F2, etc. (ORNL)


Also known as Masking. The process of hiding regions of (nucleic acid or amino acid) sequence having characteristics that frequently lead to spurious high scores.
See SEG and DUST. (NCBI)


In genetics, the identification of multiple specific alleles on a person's DNA to produce a unique identifier for that person.
See also: forensics (ORNL)

Finished DNA Sequence

High-quality, low error, gap-free DNA sequence of the human genome. Achieving this ultimate 2003 HGP goal requires additional sequencing to close gaps, reduce ambiguities, and allow for only a single error every 10,000 bases, the agreed-upon standard for HGP finished sequence.
See also: sequencing, draft sequence (ORNL)

Flow cytometry

Analysis of biological material by detection of the light-absorbing or fluorescing properties of cells or subcellular fractions (i.e., chromosomes) passing in a narrow stream through a laser beam. An absorbance or fluorescence profile of the sample is produced. Automated sorting devices, used to fractionate samples, sort successive droplets of the analyzed stream into different fractions depending on the fluorescence emitted by each droplet. (ORNL)

Flow karyotyping

Use of flow cytometry to analyze and separate chromosomes according to their DNA content. (ORNL)

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)

A physical mapping approach that uses fluorescein tags to detect hybridization of probes with metaphase chromosomes and with the less-condensed somatic interphase chromatin. (ORNL)

Folded leaf

A layer of alpha-helices wrapped around a single hydrophobic core but not with the simple geometry of a bundle. (SCOP)


The use of DNA for identification. Some examples of DNA use are to establish paternity in child support cases; establish the presence of a suspect at a crime scene, and identify accident victims. (ORNL)

Fraternal twin

Siblings born at the same time as the result of fertilization of two ova by two sperm. They share the same genetic relationship to each other as any other siblings.
See also: identical twin (ORNL)

Full gene sequence

The complete order of bases in a gene. This order determines which protein a gene will produce. (ORNL)

Functional genomics

The study of genes, their resulting proteins, and the role played by the proteins the body's biochemical processes. (ORNL)


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