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Glossary

An alphabetical glossary of technical terms used on the site.

Ice scour

Abrasion caused by the movement of pack ice, which can create narrow ditches on the seabed.

ICT

Information and communication technologies.

IgA

A type of antibody present in blood and saliva, which may aid in fighting infections.

IgG

A common type of antibody present in blood serum, which fights bacterial and viral infections.

Illicit

An unlawful act.

Immortal

Live forever.

Immune system

The body’s defence against disease. It is a complex cascade of cell responses, which are responsible for fighting infections.

Immunity

A body's reaction to the introduction of foreign substances, through the production of defensive substances such as antibodies.

Immunocontraceptive

A molecule that partially or completely suppresses an organism’s ability to produce offspring by stimulating an immune response against components of it's reproductive system.

Immunosuppress

Suppress, or reduce, a response from the immune system.

Immunosuppressant

A substance that suppresses or reduces the immune system’s response.

Immunotherapy

A treatment that uses the body’s natural defence system, the immune system, to fight disease.

In vitro

Occurring in a laboratory environment, for example, in a test tube. This is a Latin term meaning 'in glass'.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

A technique where an egg is fertilised by sperm in the laboratory, before being transferred into the womb.

In vivo

Occurring in the body. This is a Latin term.

Indigenous

Originating and living or occurring naturally in an area or environment.

Inert

A substance that tends to be stable and does not react chemically with other substances.

Infection

Invasion of the body by microorganisms.

Infectious

An infection that quickly spreads.

Infests

When large numbers of an organism, usually a parasite, live on or in a host.

Inflammation

The first response of tissues to irritation or infection, which results in swelling, redness, heat, and pain in the affected tissue.

Influenza

Or the ‘flu’, is a viral infection that can cause coughing, sore throat, fever, headaches and aching muscles and joints.

Infrastructure

The basic facilities and services needed to support a community, such as transport, water, and power, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.

Inhibit

Reduce or prevent.

Innovation

A new process or product.

Inoculate

Infect one living organism with a small sample of another living organism or part of a living organism.

Insecticide

A chemical (synthetic or organic) used to kill or repel insects.

Insoluble

A substance that does not dissolve in liquid.

Insulin

A hormone produced in the pancreas that controls blood sugar levels.

Intellectual property (IP)

An idea or invention that is protected by law, such as a patent, copyright or trademark.

Intoxicant

An alcoholic substance that can make a person drunk.

Introgression

Introducing a trait from one cultivar into another (usually of higher quality). Introgression is achieved through repeated backcrossing.

Intron

Part of the DNA sequence within a gene that does not code for a protein.

Introns

Parts of the DNA sequence within a gene that do not code for protein.

Invertebrate

An animal without a backbone, for example butterflies, worms, snails, insects, spiders, and aquatic species such as crabs and jellyfish.

Ion

An atom or group of atoms that has gained or lost electrons and has an electrical charge.

Ion exchange

A reversible process where ions are swapped between different substances on the basis of their electrical charge.

Ionise

Convert an atom, molecule or substance into an ion, typically by removing one or more electrons.

Irradiate

Exposure to radiation, like X-rays.

Islet cells

Cells in the pancreas that secrete hormones, like insulin and glucagon, which help to control blood sugar.

Isopropanol

A colourless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odour. Also known as isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol.

Isotope

One or more forms of a chemical element that differ in atomic mass.

Iterative

Involving repetition.

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