Genomics Glossary for What is Genomics

Alzheimer's disease

a progressive disorder that causes mental deterioration


the variety and variability of living things in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem


a disease caused by an abnormal cells dividing uncontrollably in a part of the body

deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

the molecule that encodes the information for all the characteristics or traits about an organism

DNA barcoding

using a DNA segment of the genome to identify the sequence belonging to a particular species

DNA fingerprinting

a technique of utilizing differences in DNA (polymorphisms) to identify an individual

DNA Sequencing

“Reading” the DNA molecule to determine the sequence of the letters

ELSI (Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research Program )

A group within the National Institute of Health's human genome institute whose goal is to foster basic and applied research on the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic and genomic research for individuals, families and communities.


a collection of all the protein-coding sequences (exons) found in the genome. This is the part of the human genome we understand best, but the exome only makes up about 2% of the entire genome.


a unit of DNA that controls specific traits

gene chippers

Robots that are fed thousands of seeds to report each seed's genetic information for plant breeding purposes.  The robots chip off a part of each seed (a part that will not kill the seed), extract DNA from the plant material, perform DNA analysis, and report the results via a database.

genetically modifying foods

foods in which the DNA has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally or by artificial selection


the study of genes and genetic variation and how specific traits or characteristics are inherited from parents to offspring


all the DNA in an organism


the study of a large number of genes and their interactions and/or of entire genomes (all of the DNA in an organism) to learn what kind of information is coded in these DNA sequences and how the DNA instructions are carried out


an individual's collection of genes. The term also can refer to the two alleles inherited for a particular gene. The genotype is expressed when the information encoded in the genes' DNA is used to make protein and RNA molecules. The expression of the genotype contributes to the individual's observable traits, called the phenotype.


a principal taxonomic category that ranks above species. It is denoted by a capitalized Latin name and usually includes more than one species.


observable traits


The process of determining the order of nucleotides that makes up DNA or RNA


a group of living organisms that have many characteristics in common and are capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. It is the principal natural taxonomic unit below a genus.