Genetics Glossary


Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses. Most DNA molecules are double-stranded helices and genetic information is encoded as a sequence of nucleotides (guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine) recorded using the letters G, A, T, and C.


A gene is the name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a polypeptide or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism.

Gene/genotyping chip

A gene or genotyping chip is a device that allows scientists to make high throughput experiments in order to measure the expression levels of large numbers of genes simultaneously or to genotype multiple regions of a genome.

Gene pyramiding

Gene pyramiding aims to assemble multiple desirable genes into a single genotype.


In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information.


The genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual, usually with reference to a specific trait under consideration.


Genotyping is the process of determining differences in the genotype between individuals using biological assays usually targeting their DNA.


Genomics aims at deciphering the structure and the functioning of genomes as a whole. It usually involves high throughput methodologies and lot of bioinformatics.


Introgression corresponds to the introduction of a gene from one species into another one by an initial cross between the donor and the receiver species followed by repeated backcrosses with the receiver species.

MAS or Marker Assisted Selection

Breeding process in which a marker (morphological, biochemical or most of the time a DNA variation) is used for indirect selection of a desirable trait (e.g. productivity, disease resistance, abiotic stress tolerance, and/or quality).


Metabolomics is the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites. Specifically, metabolomics is the "systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind", the study of their small-molecule metabolite profiles.


A phenotype is the composite of an organism's observable characteristics or traits, such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, phenology, behavior, and products of behavior. Phenotypes result from the expression of an organism's genes as well as the influence of environmental factors and the interactions between the two.


Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a ubiquitous family of large biological molecules that perform multiple vital roles in the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. Together with DNA, RNA comprises the nucleic acids, which, along with proteins, constitute the three major macromolecules essential for all known forms of life.


Sequencing means to determine the primary structure (sometimes falsely called primary sequence) of an unbranched biopolymer. DNA sequencing is the process of determining the nucleotide order of a given DNA fragment.


A transcriptome is the set of all RNA molecules, including mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and other non-coding RNA produced in one or a population of cells.


A variant or a gene is a gene that is essentially the same as another, but has mutational differences.

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