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genetics

science that accounts for natural differences and resemblances among organisms related by descent

1

heredity

the process by which organisms pass genetic traits on to their offspring

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chromosome

a microscopic structure found within the nucleus of all living cells that carries genes responsible for the organism's characteristics

3

gene

a tiny segment of DNA found on a chromosome within a cell's nucleus. each gene holds the formula for making a specific enzyme or protein

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genome

all the DNA in an organism, including its gene

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human genome project

a scientific project funded by the U.S. government, begun in 1990 and successfully completed in 2000, for the purpose of mapping all of a human's genes.

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amniocentesis

a test whereby the physicians withdraws a sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the developing fetus inside the mother's womb) from the uterus of a pregnant woman. the fluid is then tested for genetic or other conditions that mat lead to abnormal development of the fetus

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mutation

a permanent change in DNA

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genetic counselor

an expert in human genetics who is qualified to counsel individuals who may have inherited genes for certain diseases or conditions

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genetic discrimination

differential treatment of individuals based on their actual or presumed genetic differences

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genetic engineering

manipulation of DNA within the cells of plants, animals, and other organisms through synthesis, alteration, or repair to ensure that certain harmful traits will be eliminated in offspring and that desirable traits will appear and be passed on

11

clone

an organism produced asexually, usually from a single cell of the parent

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cloning

the process by which organisms are created asexually, usually from a single cell of the parent organism

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xenotransplantation

transplantation of animal tissues and organs into humans

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stem cells

cells that have the potential to become any type of body cell

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multipotent stem cells

stem cells that can become a limited number of types of tissues and cells in the body

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pluripotent stem cells

stem cells that can become almost all types of tissues and cells in the body

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gene therapy

treating harmful genetic diseases or traits by eliminating or modifying the harmful gene

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infertility

the failure to conceive for a period of 12 months or longer due to a deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any reproductive part, organ, or system

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in vitro fertilization (IVF)

fertilization that takes place outside a woman's body, literally "in glass," as in a test tube

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artificial insemination

the mechanical injection of viable semen into the vagina

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homologous artificial insemination

the process in which a husband's sperm is mechanically injected into his wife's vagina to fertilize her eggs

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surrogate mother

a woman who becomes pregnant, usually by artificial insemination or surgical implantation of a fertilized egg, and bears a child for another woman

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heterologous artificial insemination

the process in which donor sperm is mechanically injected into a woman's vagina to fertilize her eggs

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parens patriae

a legal doctrine that gives the state the authority to act in a child's best interest

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safe haven laws

state laws that allow mothers to abandon newborns to designated safe facilities without penalty

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mature minors

individuals in their mid- to late teens who, for health care purposes, are considered mature enough to comprehend a physician's recommendations and give informed consent

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emancipated minors

individuals in their mid- to late teens who legally live outside parents' or guardians' control