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Glossary

An alphabetical glossary of technical terms used on the site.

Lactation

The production of milk by animals.

Lactoferrin

A large protein found in milk that has antimicrobial properties.

Lactose

A type of sugar found in milk and milk products.

Lactose intolerance

The inability to digest lactose, resulting in discomfort and bloating.

Laparoscopy

An operation that involves a tiny camera (laporoscope) being inserted into the body of an organism for the duration of the operation.

Larva

An immature form that some animals (such as insects, crustaceans and amphibians) pass through before metamorphosing into an adult form.

Laxative

A substance that increases bowel movements.

Leukaemia

A cancer of the blood or bone marrow, which normally causes excess production of white blood cells.

Ligase

An enzyme that joins DNA fragments together.

Ligation

The joining together of DNA fragments using ligases.

Lignin

A natural substance found in the cell walls of wood, which binds the wood fibres together making them rigid and strong.

Lipid

A fat or fat-like substance found in body tissues, examples include cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty acids. Lipids are characterised by their insolubility in water and solubility in organic solvents.

Luciferase

A generic name for an enzyme that produces light from an organism. Luciferases are found in glow-worms, fireflies, and in some jellyfish and deep-sea fish.

Lycopene

A red pigment with antioxidant properties, found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava.

Lymph node

A group of small organs found throughout the body that form part of the immune system. They filter out bacteria and toxins.

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