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Glossary

An alphabetical glossary of technical terms used on the site.

Echinacea

A herb that is commonly used to reduce cold and flu symptoms.

Ecosystem

The biological, physical, and chemical relationships between a community of organisms and the environment they live in.

Eczema

An inflammation of the skin making it red and sometimes dry, flaky or itchy.

EDTA

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, a chemical that is used to remove metal ions so that metal-dependent enzymes are inactivated and damage to DNA or proteins is prevented.

Efficacy

The ability of a drug or substance to produce a desired effect, such as treating a disease.

Effluent

Liquid discharged as waste, as from an industrial plant or sewage works.

Electron microscope

An extremely powerful microscope that uses beams of electrons instead of light to magnify objects. Traditional light microscopes magnify images 1,000-2,000 times; electron microscopes can magnify 300,000 times or more.

Electrophoresis

A process that separates charged molecules, like DNA or proteins, based on their movement in an electrical field.

Electrostatic

Electric charge that is stationary.

Embryo

The product of a fertilised egg, from the zygote until the foetal stage.

Embryonic stem cell

A stem cell found in embryonic tissue or cord blood.

Emphysema

A lung disease which makes it difficult to breath and causes shortness of breath.

Emulsifier

A substance that can help one liquid mix with another when they normally wouldn’t do so, such as oil and water.

Emulsion

A stable mixture of two liquids (like oil and water) where one liquid is suspended in tiny droplets in the other.

Endocrine tissues

Tissues that produce and secrete hormones into the blood so that they can then have a widespread effect throughout the body.

Endophyte

An organism living inside a plant.

Entomology

The study of insects.

Enucleation

Removing the DNA-containing nucleus from a cell. This process is used during nuclear transfer or cloning.

Environmental sustainability

Working and behaving in a way that protects the sources of raw materials to ensure that they are available in an ongoing way to future generations.

Enzyme

A protein produced in living cells that speeds up chemical reactions.

Epidemiologist

A person who studies epidemiology.

Epidemiology

The study of disease in a particular group of people; includes analysing how many people have a disease, where they are and how to control the spread of the disease.

Epidermis

The outer layer of cells on a plant or animal.

Epigenetic

A change in gene function that is caused by external factors (not changes in the DNA sequence of the gene).

Epithelium

Tissue or cells that cover external and internal body surfaces, for example skin cells and cells that line the stomach.

Epitope

The part of a foreign substance that is recognised by an antibody.

Eukaryote

An organism whose genetic material is contained within a nuclear membrane. Examples include fungi, plants, animals and many single-celled organisms.

Evolve

A gradual change in traits of an organism that occurs over time.

Exon

The part of the DNA sequence in a gene that contains the instructions to make a protein.

Expertise

Having excellent knowledge or skills in a particular area.

Expressivity

The extent to which a trait’s presence is controlled by a gene.

Extrusion

A manufacturing process where heat-softened material is forced through a shaped opening.

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