CARTA Glossary

Displaying 401 - 500 of 799 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Intracellular Signaling Cascade

The series of sequential events that transmit signals received at the surface of a neuron to internal regulatory molecules, which are then modified by the signal. These pathways allow external signals from the environment to regulate gene expression.

Intrauterine Life

The interval of life between conception and birth.

Introgression

Transfer of alleles between species.

Introns

Sequences between eons, don't encode proteins

Intuition

A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.

Isoflurane

A potent inhalational anesthetic used for induction and maintenance of general anesthesia. Works via GABA receptors.

Isotope

Each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties; in particular, a radioactive form of an element.

Isotopic Signature

The ratio of non-radiogenic “stable isotopes,” stable radiogenic isotopes, or unstable radioactive isotopes of particular elements in an investigated material.

Japanese Encephalitis

An infection of the central nervous system caused by the Japanese Encephalitis Virus. Most infections are benign but occasionally can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), headaches, vomiting, fever, confusion and seizures.

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

A RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus that causes Japanese Encephalitis and is generally spread by mosquitoes, such as Aedes mosquitos. JEV is prevalent in much of Asia and the Western Pacific. Pigs and wild birds serve as a reservoir for the virus.

Jaundice

A yellowing of the eyes and skin due to rapid breakdown of red blood cells (RBCs) and release of degraded hemoglobin.

Jebel Irhoud Hominins

The oldest known “early” human fossils discovered, dating to roughly 300 kya from an archaeological site in Morocco. The location of this discovery suggests a “pan-African” origin of humans, with a dispersed interbreeding population, likely aided by climactic factors.

John Ssebunya of Uganda

In 1989, at age 4-5, he witnessed his father murder his mother and subsequently fled into the Ugandan jungle. He was accepted as a peripheral member of a group of vervet monkeys who cared for and nourished him for a period of two years. He was found and captured in 1991.

Karyotype

Chromosome number in the cell nucleus.

Kinematics

A description of the motion of objects; how the limbs and joints, or combinations of these bodies, move during a particular type of locomotion.

Kinetics

A description of the forces acting on a body; the forces the body exerts (or resists) during locomotion.

Klasies-River

A river and cave system in the Tsitsikamma coast, Humansdorp district, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Evidence for middle stone age-associated human habitation has been found in the nearby cave system dating to ~125 kya.

Konso-Gardula

A palaeoanthropological area in the southern Main Ethiopian Rift that was discovered 1991 The Konso-Gardula sediments span ~ 1.9 mya to 1.3 mya. Early Homo fossils and Acheulean stone tools have been found here. 

KYA

Thousand years ago.

Lactobacillus

A genus of Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria that convert sugars to lactic acid. In humans, they are a significant component of the microbiome and can survive in the harsh pH conditions of the digestive and genital systems. Lactobacillus species are normally a major part of the vaginal microbiota. While receiving nutrients from their human host, Lactobacilli protect the host against certain pathogens, even helping to treat diarrhea, vaginal infections, and skin disorders such as eczema. Lactobacillus is the most common probiotic, perhaps most notable for its use in yogurt.

Lactobacillus crispatus

A common genus of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria that produces hydrogen peroxide (H202) and is found in the vagina and gastrointestinal system.

Lactobacillus iners

A common genus of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria that normally inhabits the lower reproductive system and vagina of healthy women.

Language (Human)

A structured system of communication that is generative (combine words/symbols to convey an infinite number of ideas), recursive (builds upon itself without limit), and has displaced reference (describe things not present).

Large quantity discrimination (LQD)

The rough discrimination of collections of discrete items above the subitizing range, whose numerosities usually differ by a substantial amount.

Late Bloomers

Individuals from high-risk backgrounds who begin to manifest resilience later in adolescence or adulthood following a period of maladjustment or problems.

Late-night wake therapy (LWT)

A sleep schedule therapy hypothesized to relieve peripartum depression by altering melatonin and sleep timing (sleep from 9:00 pm - 01:00 am).

Lectin

A protein that can bind to a glycan without catalyzing a modification of the glycan.

Levallois Technique (prepared core)

A method of creating stone tools by first striking flakes off the stone, or core, along the edges to create the prepared core and then striking the prepared core in such a way that the intended tool is flaked off with all of its edges pre-sharpened.

Lexical semantics

Word meanings.

Life History

The schedule of life, including birth to sexual maturity, duration of the reproductive period, duration of the post-reproductive period (if there is one), and mortality rate at each stage.

Ligand

A molecule specifically recognized by another molecule and involved in specific interactions.

Limbic System (Brain)

Structures of the brain that deal with emotions and memory.

Limited Bedding and Nesting

A paradigm used in the laboratory to model scarcity of resources. Mothers (rats/mice) are not given enough nesting materials to build a nest for their infants and neglect/maltreatment occurs as a result.

LINE1 Retrotransposons

Long interspersed nuclear elements class 1 (LINE1) is a type of transposable element, or “jumping gene,” that randomly copies and inserts itself into different genomic locations through reverse transcription (conversion of RNA into DNA). These active LINE1s can interrupt the genome through insertions, deletions, rearrangements, and copy number variations. LINE1 activity has contributed to the instability and evolution of genomes. As such, they are tightly regulated in the germline, however, they are controlled differently in apes and humans. LINE1 retrotransposons make up to ~17% of the human genome. While the majority are inactive in the human genome, there are roughly 80-100 that have retained the ability to retrotranspose with considerable variation between individuals.

Linkage Disequilibrium

Non-random inheritance of alleles at different loci (due to low recombination).

Lipid

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. A fatty or waxy organic compound involved in important cellular activities like storing energy, as a component of the cell membrane, and signaling within and between other cells.

Locomotion

Movement causing a person or animal to get from point A to point B.

Locus (pl. Loci)

A unique physical position on a chromosome.

Lomekwian Technology

The oldest known stone tools consisting of 150 artifacts found in Lomekwi, Kenya, close to Lake Turkana. ~3.3 mya.

Longevity

Typical length of life.

Lower Paleolithic

The first subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age. ~3.4 mya- 300 ky.

Lymphatic vessels

Thin-walled vessels (tubes) of the lymphatic system that are complementary to the cardiovascular system and are devoted to the movement of lymphatic fluid.

Macronutrient

A substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms: Fats, proteins, carbohydrates in an animal diet or chemical elements such as potassium, magnesium, calcium as required by plants.

Macrophages

Specialized immune cells involved in the detection, phagocytosis and destruction of bacteria and other harmful organisms. In addition, they can also present antigens to T cells and initiate inflammation by releasing molecules.

Maintenance and Defense

An organism’s way of maintaining its body and physiological homeostasis while also defending against parasites, pathogens, and internal crises (e.g. cancer).

Major depression (clinical depression)

A severe and persistent low mood, profound sadness, or a sense of despair lasting at least two weeks but usually much longer.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)

A set of closely linked polymorphic genes that code for cell surface proteins (MHC molecules) that assist the adaptive immune system in detection of foreign molecules.

Maladaptation

A genotypic or phenotypic trait that is (or has become) more harmful than helpful in determining survival and reproductive success (in contrast to an adaptation, which is more helpful than harmful).

Malaria

An infectious disease that affects humans and other animals and caused by single-celled organisms belonging to genus Plasmodium and transmitted by mosquitos (commonly female Anopheles mosquitos). Initial symptoms are flu-
like and may include headache, fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, anemia, jaundice, hemoglobin in the urine, retinal damage, and convulsions. The classic symptom of malaria is a cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness and shivering and then fever and sweating. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the equator. In 2018, there were 228 million cases of malaria worldwide resulting in an estimated 405,000 deaths. The high levels of mortality caused by malaria has repeatedly placed selective pressure on the human genome, resulting in several genetic factors (including Sickle Cell Trait) that mediate its effect to some degree.

Malignant neoplasm

A cancerous growth capable of invading normal tissues and growing in otherwise hostile environments.

Marrow

The soft fatty substance in the cavities of bones that produces red and white blood cells and platelets.

Mate guarding (humans)

The retention of exclusive reproductive access to a mate by attempting to restrict the access of others and discouraging the mate from seeking other sexual opportunities.

Maternal Separation

An experimental paradigm in which the experimenter separates a mother rat or mouse from her offspring for some period of time (minutes to hours) to study the effects of maternal deprivation on offspring development.

Mating Effort

The sex with the higher potential rate of reproduction invests more in mating effort than in parental effort. Greater mating effort is associated with faster life history strategy.

Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR)

A protein kinase, which in humans is encoded by the MTOR gene.

Medial Preoptic Area (MPOA)

A region of the brain located in the anterior part of the hypothalamus that critically regulates care giving behavior.

Medium Spiny Neurons

A special type of GABAergic inhibitory cell representing 95% of neurons within the human striatum, a basal ganglia structure.

Melanin

For most organisms, it is the pigment in skin and hair, but is also found in the iris of the eye, the inner ear, and some parts of the brain. Melanin is produced as three basic types: eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. The melanin in the skin is produced by melanocytes, which exist across human populations in similar concentration in their skin. However, the melanocytes in some populations produce variable amounts of melanin. This variation is likely due to the melanin’s property to absorb and dissipate UV radiation, protecting skin from harmful damage. UV exposure is associated with increased risk of malignant melanoma, a cancer of melanocytes.

Memory

The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.

Meningitis

An inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Meningococcus (Neisseria meningitidis)

A bacterium that can cause meningitis and meningococcemia, a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream (sepsis).

Menopause

The time of life when female menstruation naturally and permanently ceases.

Mentalizing

The process of representing and reasoning about the mental states, thought, and feelings of the self and others. Also known as Theory of Mind.

Mescaline

A potent psychedelic found in the peyote cactus. Structurally similar to dopamine and norepinephrine and also activates serotonin receptors.

Mesoderm

The middle of the three primary germ layers formed in embryonic development and develops into the muscles of the cardiac and skeletal systems, the skeleton and connective tissue, blood vessels and cells, and some other internal organs such as the kidneys and gonads.

Metabolic rate

The rate at which fuels (such as sugars or fats) are broken down for the production of cellular energy.

Metabolism

The conversion of food into energy and the chemical building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and glycans as well as the elimination of metabolic wastes.

Microbiome

The totality of all organisms (microbes) that live on and in the body.

Microglia

A type of glia that functions as the primary innate immune cells of the central nervous system and are involved in brain development and maintenance. These cells are not of neuronal origin but rather migrate from the yolk sac to the brain during embryogenesis.

Microlithic (Mode 5)

A stone tool type consisting of small blades or points, called microliths, that were typically used in composite tools, such as an arrow point fastened to a haft. ~35 - 3 kya.

Micronutrients

A chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms that the organism cannot synthesize itself. 

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS

A contagious and sometimes fatal viral respiratory sickness that can produce severe symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and in some cases death. The MERS virus originated in bats and was first reported affecting other species, camels and humans, in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, it has been identified in many other countries, including the United States.
 

Middle Paleolithic

The second subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age and consist of use of prepared cores (Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 kya -30 kya.

Middle Pleistocene

A period of geological time (781-126,000 years ago). An important time for the diversification of hominins, including the emergence of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

Mind

The element of an individual that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. 

Mind Over Reality Transition (MORT)

A proposed singular phase in hominid evolution in which maladaptive mortality salience and death anxiety were triggered by acquiring the capacity for Extended Theory of Mind, but were (in this one instance) tolerated by the simultaneous acquisition of Reality Denial in the same minds - allowing gene culture-evolution to fix both capacities in the resulting hominin lineage, at the neurobiological and genetic level.

Mindfulness

The state of being conscious or aware.

Mindfulness meditation

A meditative practice centered around being present in the moment.

Mircofossils

Fossils or fossil fragments of bacteria, protists, fungi, animals, and plants (e.g.: starch granules) that can only be seen with a microscope.

miRNA

Short non-coding regulatory microRNA

Mitochondria

Membrane-bound cell organelles that generate most of the chemical energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions. Mitochondria are believed to be endosymbionts that were originally prokaryotic cells that became incorporated into eukaryotic organisms.

Mitochondrial DNA

Maternally inherited DNA found only in the mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria are thought to descend from symbiotic bacteria that have become part of eukaryotic cells.

Molecular Mimicry

The phenomenon whereby one organism produces molecules that are identical or very similar to those of another organism (such as its host). Parasites and pathogens repeatedly evolve molecular mimicry for host manipulation and immune evasion.

Molecule

A group of two or more atoms bonded together to form the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound that can take part in a chemical reaction.

Monosaccharides

A simple sugar; the most basic unit of a carbohydrate.

Morbidity

The rate of disease in a population (as opposed to mortality, which is death rate).

Morphology (Biology)

The shape or form (outward appearance) of an organism. The branch of biology interested in the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.

Morphology (Linguistics)

The sub-discipline of linguistics concerned with the structure and parts of words (stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes), how words are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language. Parts of speech, intonation and stress, and contextual pronunciation and meaning are aspects of Morphology.

Mortality Salience

Conscious understanding and realization of personal mortality.

Motor Cortex

The part of the cerebral cortex in the brain where the nerve impulses originate that initiate voluntary muscular activity.

Mousterian (Mode 3)

A stone tool type characterized by hand- axes, scrapers, triangle points, and denticulates (a stone tool with edges of multiple notched shapes, or teeth) produced using a prepared core (i.e. Levallois Technique) and is most associated with Neanderthals. ~315 - 30 kya.

Mucus

A slimy or gooey substance (hydrated bio-gel) produced by mucous membranes and glands for to lubricate or protect the body. The substance we refer to as “snot” or “boogers” are the mucus inside your nose that traps dirt and germs before they can enter further into your body and do you harm. Sneezing expels these invaders from your body but also propels them out towards other unsuspecting victims.

Muscular Dystrophy

A group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

Music

An auditory form of art composed of pitch (melody and harmony), rhythm (tempo, meter, articulation), dynamics (loudness/softness), timbre and texture.

Musicality (in humans)

A natural, spontaneously developing sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music based on and constrained by our biological and cognitive system, which is then culturally informed and reinforced.

Mutation

Change in a DNA or RNA sequence.

MYA

Million years ago.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The pathogenic bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

Myelin Sheaths

Sleeves of fatty tissue (wrapped cell membrane) that protect nerve cells.

N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac)

The most common sialic acid in most vertebrates and was first discovered in animal saliva and brains.

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