CARTA Glossary

Displaying 901 - 933 of 933 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone)

A hormone synthesized in the hypothalamus and then transported to the blood to regulate extracellular fluid volume in the blood vessels and kidneys. It also plays a role in vasoconstriction. Vasopressin and oxytocin evolved from a single primordial neurohypophyseal hormone called vasotocin, which is present in lower vertebrates. Vasopressin, oxytocin, and their receptors are involved in regulating mating systems in several mammals.


DNA molecule used to direct the replication of a cloned DNA fragment (“insert”) in a host cell.

Vector (Epidemiology)

Any agent which carries and transmits an infectious pathogen to another living organism. Most agents that act as vectors are living organisms.

Ventricular Zone A transient embryonic layer of tissue containing neural stem cells, principally radial glial cells, of the central nervous system of vertebrates.
Viral (Biology)

Of or relating to viruses. (see Virus)


The degree of damage caused by a pathogen or microbe to its host.


A submicroscopic infectious agent 10 million times smaller than a human that relies on a living host cell for metabolic processes and replication. Like living organisms, viruses possess genes and evolve by natural selection. Unlike living organisms, viruses lack cellular structure, do not have their own metabolism, instead relying on a living host cell for production of materials, and replication through self-assembly inside a host cell.

Vitus Bering

The Danish cartographer and explorer who led expeditions to the north-eastern reaches of the Asian continent and north-western reaches of the North American continent. Numerous geological and oceananic features are named after him (examples include the Bering Strait, Bering Sea, Bering Island, Bering Land Bridge, etc.).

VO2 max

The maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during exercise of increasing intensity.


Individual or system susceptibility or sensitivity specific to harmful consequences from threats or disturbances; moderator of adversity or risk that results in higher than typical negative effects.


People belonging to societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic, as originally proposed by CARTA member, Joseph Henrich.

Wernicke’s area

An important brain region involved in comprehension of written and spoken language.

West Nile Fever

An infection by the West Nile virus, which is typically spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, or a rash. In rare cases, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or meningitis occurs, with associated neck stiffness, confusion, or seizures.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

A RNA virus that causes West Nile Fever and is a from the genus Flavivirus, which also contains the Zika Virus, Dengue Virus, and Yellow Fever Virus. WNV is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes with birds as the primary hosts.

White blood cells (WBCs)

A type of immune cell involved in protecting the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders. WBCs are also called leukocytes.

White Matter (Brain)

Areas of the central nervous system that affects learning and brain functions, modulating the distribution of action potentials, and acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions. White matter development peaks in middle age in humans.

Wild Boy of Aveyron

A French feral child who was captured in 1800 at the estimated age of twelve. A young physician, Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, worked with the boy for five years and gave him his name, Victor. Itard was interested in determining what Victor could learn and devised procedures to teach words and recorded his progress. Based on his work with Victor, Itard broke new ground in the education of the developmentally delayed. Victor is estimated to have been born around 1788 and Itard reported he was a normal child at birth but later he was neglected by his alcoholic parents at an early age, and he left to the wild. Recent commentary by Uta Frith, a German developmental psychologist at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, postulates that Victor displayed signs of autism.

Williams Syndrome

A genetic condition characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning challenges.  These often occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.  1 in 10,000 people worldwide are affected and occurs equally in males and females and in every culture. Children with Williams syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing.

Wolf-Girls of India

Amala (1918-21) and Kamala (1912-1929) were two feral girls from Bengal, India, who were alleged to have been raised by a wolf family. There is much controversy to the veracity of the girls’ wolf story.

Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa

A National Heritage Site in Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Archaeological research has revealed over 2 million years of hominin activity in the cave.


The product of force and displacement (distance).

Working Memory

The part of short-term memory that is concerned with immediate conscious perceptual and linguistic processing.  It is also important for reasoning and the guidance of decision-making and behavior.


One of the two allosomes of the mammalian genome that determine sex. The X-chromosome can be inherited maternally and paternally.


One of the two allosomes of the mammalian genome that determine sex. The Y-chromosome can only be inherited paternally.

Yellow Fever

A viral disease caused by Yellow Fever Virus and spread by female Aedes mosquitos. Typically, short in duration, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. In some cases, a relapse of Yellow Fever will occur, causing abdominal pain and liver damage that results in yellow skin (see Jaundice).

Yellow Fever Virus

An RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus that causes Yellow fever and is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito, primarily by female Aedes mosquitos. Origin: Africa.

Yersinia pestis

The gram-negative bacterium that causes the plague, which takes three main forms: pneumonic, septicemic and bubonic.

Zika Fever (Zika Virus Disease; Zika)

An infectious disease caused by the Zika virus. Symptoms resemble Dengue Fever and may include fever, red eyes, joint pain, headache, and a maculopapular rash but are typically mild. While Zika Fever is mainly spread via mosquitos, it can also be sexually transmitted and potentially spread by blood transfusions. Infections in pregnant women can spread to the baby which may cause microcephaly and other brain malformations. Infections in adults have been linked to Guillain–Barré Syndrome (GBS).

Zika Virus

An RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus that causes Zika Fever and is spread by Aedes mosquitos. It was first identified in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda, from which it was named. Zika virus is related to the Dengue, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and West Nile Viruses. Traditionally, Zika virus occurred within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia but spread to the Americas causing the 2015–2016 Zika virus epidemic. Origin: Africa.


A species-spanning approach to medicine that recognizes that animals and humans get many of the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely consult one another.


A disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals.

“Non-typhoidal” Salmonella

A serovar of Salmonella and the causative pathogen of salmonellosis. “Non-typhoidal” Salmonella can be transferred from animals to humans and humans to humans.

“Typhoidal” Salmonella

A serovar of Salmonella and the causative pathogen of Typhoid Fever.