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Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Glossary



Macrorestriction map

Map depicting the order of and distance between sites at which restriction enzymes cleave chromosomes. (ORNL)


See: gene mapping, linkage map, physical map (ORNL)

Mapping population

The group of related organisms used in constructing a genetic map. (ORNL)


See: genetic marker (ORNL)


Also known as Filtering. The removal of repeated or low complexity regions from a sequence in order to improve the sensitivity of sequence similarity searches performed with that sequence. (NCBI)

Mass spectrometry

An instrument used to identify chemicals in a substance by their mass and charge. (ORNL)


A simple topology of a beta-sheet where any two consecutive strands are adjacent and antiparallel (SCOP)

Megabase (Mb)

Unit of length for DNA fragments equal to 1 million nucleotides and roughly equal to 1 cM.
See also: centimorgan (ORNL)


The process of two consecutive cell divisions in the diploid progenitors of sex cells. Meiosis results in four rather than two daughter cells, each with a haploid set of chromosomes.
See also: mitosis (ORNL)

Mendelian inheritance

One method in which genetic traits are passed from parents to offspring. Named for Gregor Mendel, who first studied and recognized the existence of genes and this method of inheritance.
See also: autosomal dominant, recessive gene, sex-linked (ORNL)

Messenger RNA (mRNA)

RNA that serves as a template for protein synthesis.
See also: genetic code (ORNL)


A stage in mitosis or meiosis during which the chromosomes are aligned along the equatorial plane of the cell. (ORNL)


Sets of miniaturized chemical reaction areas that may also be used to test DNA fragments, antibodies, or proteins. (ORNL)

Microbial genetics

The study of genes and gene function in bacteria, archaea, and other microorganisms. Often used in research in the fields of bioremediation, alternative energy, and disease prevention.
See also: model organisms, biotechnology, bioremediation (ORNL)


A technique for introducing a solution of DNA into a cell using a fine microcapillary pipet. (ORNL)

Mitochondrial DNA

The genetic material found in mitochondria, the organelles that generate energy for the cell. Not inherited in the same fashion as nucleic DNA.
See also: cell, DNA, genome, nucleus(ORNL)


The process of nuclear division in cells that produces daughter cells that are genetically identical to each other and to the parent cell.
See also: meiosis (ORNL)

Model organisms

A laboratory animal or other organism useful for research. (ORNL)


The use of statistical analysis, computer analysis, or model organisms to predict outcomes of research. (ORNL)

Molecular biology

The study of the structure, function, and makeup of biologically important molecules. (ORNL)

Molecular farming

The development of transgenic animals to produce human proteins for medical use. (ORNL)

Molecular genetics

The study of macromolecules important in biological inheritance. (ORNL)

Molecular medicine

The treatment of injury or disease at the molecular level. Examples include the use of DNA-based diagnostic tests or medicine derived from DNA sequence information. (ORNL)

Monogenic disorder

A disorder caused by mutation of a single gene.
See also: mutation, polygenic disorder (ORNL)

Monogenic inheritance

See: monogenic disorder (ORNL)


Possessing only one copy of a particular chromosome instead of the normal two copies.
See also: cell, chromosome, gene expression, trisomy (ORNL)

Morbid map

A diagram showing the chromosomal location of genes associated with disease. (ORNL)


A short conserved region in a protein sequence. Motifs are frequently highly conserved parts of domains. (NCBI)


Sequence motifs are short conserved regions of polypeptides. Sets of sequence motifs need not necessarily represent homologues. (SMART)

Mouse model

See: model organisms (ORNL)

Multifactorial or Multigenic Disorder

See: polygenic disorder (ORNL)

Multiple Sequence Alignment

An alignment of three or more sequences with gaps inserted in the sequences such that residues with common structural positions and/or ancestral residues are aligned in the same column. Clustal W is one of the most widely used multiple sequence alignment programs (NCBI)


A laboratory approach that performs multiple sets of reactions in parallel (simultaneously); greatly increasing speed and throughput. (ORNL)


Organism in the genus Mus. A rat or mouse. (ORNL)


An agent that causes a permanent genetic change in a cell. Does not include changes occurring during normal genetic recombination. (ORNL)


The capacity of a chemical or physical agent to cause permanent genetic alterations.
See also: somatic cell genetic mutation (ORNL)


Any heritable change in DNA sequence.
See also: polymorphism (ORNL)


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