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Definitions Pop Up Window

Genetic Testing Guide
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Learn The Basics
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2004-06-09
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2006-06-09

 

Amino Acids

Amino acids — Twenty chemical "building blocks" that link together to form proteins. All amino acids have the same backbone, but each has a unique "side chain" coming off the backbone that gives it distinct properties. (Picture charms on a charm bracelet.)

 

Cancer

Cancer — A disease in which cells in the body multiply out of control. These cells can spread to other organs in the body.

  

Carrier

Carrier — A person who has one mutated copy of a recessive gene and one unchanged or normal copy of the same gene. Typically, carriers do not show any symptoms from carrying the mutated gene, but they can pass it on to their children.

  

Cell

Cell — The basic unit of a living organism. The cell contains the organism's genome, as well as the materials to build proteins. Cells can have specialized roles within the body. For example, nerve cells tell muscle cells to contract or relax.

  

Chromosome

Chromosome — Coils of DNA that are found in most of the body's cells. Humans have 46 chromosomes: 23 are inherited from the father and 23 from the mother.

  

Genetic tests

Genetic tests — Laboratory tests that examine DNA, chromosomes, or proteins to look for genetic mutations that cause diseases.

 

Mutation

Mutation — A change in the DNA sequence. Mutations can be inherited or they can occur spontaneously. If DNA in an egg or sperm contains a mutation, the mutation may be passed on to the next generation.

  

Protein

Protein — Molecules that are responsible for thousands of processes, structures, and materials in your body. Proteins consist of one or more chains of amino acids.

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Last updated June 09, 2004


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