Biology Dictionary – U-Z
Meanings of biological terminology
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ubidecarenone Coenzyme Q10.
ubiquinone /yoo-BEEK-kwin-n&$333;n/ n. Coenzyme Q10.
ultraviolet (UV) light /ƏL-trə-VIE-lət/ n. Rays beyond the visible spectrum, emitted by ionized gases and hot bodies such as the sun, with wavelengths between 1800 and 3900 Å. UV-B (wavelength 3200 Å-2800 Å) and UV-C (wavelength 2800 Å-1000 Å) radiation both damage DNA and are therefore detrimental to most organisms. Sunburn is a reaction to DNA damage caused by UV light.
Online Biology Dictionary (UMBILI-)
umbilical cord /əm-BILL-ik-əl/ n. The hoselike structure connecting the placenta to the embryo or fetus; contains the umbilical artery and vein. It is severed at birth. The navel (or umbilicus) marks the point of its former attachment. PICTURE
undulipodium (pl undulipodia) /ƏN-dyə-lə-PODE-ee-əm/ n. A movable, whiplike extension of the plasma membrane of certain eukaryotic cells, such as spermatozoa. An undulipodium contains cytoplasm and a ropelike structure composed of microtubules known as an axoneme. Where the undulipodium attaches to the cell there is a basal body called the kinetosome which is connected to the axoneme with motor proteins. Undulipodia function in moving the cell, the organism to which the cell belongs, or fluid in contact with the cell. The flagella of prokaryotes are similar in appearance and function to the undulipodia of eukaryotes, but differ from them with respect to structure.
Online Biology Dictionary (UNI-)
unicellular /yoon-ə-SEL-yə-ler/ adj. Single-celled (said of an organism, such as a bacterium).
uniparental inheritance /yoon-ə-pə-RENT-əl/ n. See: cytoplasmic trait.
Online Biology Dictionary (URA-)
uranium (U) /yer-RAIN-ee-əm/ n. A weakly radioactive chemical element; atomic weight 238.02891; atomic number 92. There are three isotopes: U-238, U-235, and U-234. Uranium decays slowly by emitting an alpha particle. The half-life of U-238 is about 4.47 billion years and that of U-235 is 704 million years, which make them useful for dating geological strata (the methods used for this purpose are uranium-thorium dating, uranium-lead dating, and uranium-uranium dating). PERIODIC TABLE
urea cycle See: ornithine cycle.
urethra /yə-REE-thrə or yer-EE-thra/ n. The tube leading urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body.
uric acid /YER-ik/ n. The ultimate product of nucleic acid catabolism; main nitrogenous component of urine in birds and reptiles.
uridine /YER-ə-deen/ n. A nucleoside, uracil attached to a ribose ring.
urinary /YER-in-air-ee/ adj. Of, pertaining to, containing, or producing urine.
urogenital /yer-ō-JEN-ə-təl/ adj. Of or pertaining to the reproductive and urinary organs.
urology /yer-AWL-ə-jee/ n. The study and treatment of disorders of the urogenital organs.
Ursus /ER-səs/ n. The genus to which the brown bear, Ursus arctos, and the cave bear, Ursus spelaeus belong. Some authorities would include all extant bears other than sloth bears in this genus. MORE INFORMATION
Online Biology Dictionary (V)
v (1) volt; (2) vision.
vaccination /vaks-sə-NAY-shən, -sin-/ n. Introduction of an inactive or weakened pathogen into the body in order to stimulate an immune reaction that will allow the body to respond quickly to the pathogen if real infection ever occurs.
vagina /və-JINE-ə/ n. (1) a mucomembranous, thin-walled passage forming the birth canal; the passageway leading out from the uterus to the exterior of the body; the birth canal; (2) any sheathlike part.
vaginal /VAHJ-jin-əl/ adj. Of or pertaining to the vagina.
s2 = [(x1 - m)2 + (x2 - m)2 + ... + (xn - m)2]/(N-1),
where m is the sample mean. The variance is the square of the standard deviation.
varves In geological formations, annual alternating layers caused by seasonal variation. MORE INFORMATION
Online Biology Dictionary (VAS)
vascular cylinder /VASK-yə-ler/ n. The central core of the vascular tissue in a plant root. It is surrounded by parenchymal ground tissue.
vascular plants /VASK-yə-ler/ n. Plants with vascular tissue (i.e., all plants other than mosses and their relatives).
vas deferens /vas DEF-er-əns/ n. The sperm-bearing tube leading from the epididymis to the urethra. PICTURE
vector /VEK-ter/ n. (1) an animal that transmits disease from an infected individual to some other, uninfected individual (2) cloning vector.
vegetative reproduction /VEG-ə-TATE-iv/ n. Reproduction by fragmentation or budding. MORE INFORMATION
vein A thin-walled vessel carrying blood toward the heart. ILLUSTRATION OF VENOUS SYSTEM
venom /VEN-əm/ n. A toxin produced by an animal; usually injected by a bite or sting — venomous /VEN-əm-əs/ adj. poisonous, having a poisonous bite or sting.
Online Biology Dictionary (VERMI-)
Online Biology Dictionary (VERTEBR-)
vertebral canal /VERT-ə-brəl/ n. The spinal cavity.
vesicle /VES-ə-kəl/ n. (1) a small cavity with thin walls; (2) a thin, usually fluid-filled, sac; (3) a blister; (4) a hollow, membrane-bound body that encloses and transports macromolecules into and out of eukaryotic cells, and between organelles within such cells.
vesicular /və-SICK-yə-ler/ adj. adj. Pertaining to a vesicle.
Online Biology Dictionary (VES-)
vessel elements Wide cells that join end-to-end to form water-carrying tubes in angiosperms.
Online Biology Dictionary (VILLI)
villiform /VIL-ə-form/ adj. Shaped like a villus.
Online Biology Dictionary (VIRAL)
virology /vire-AWL-ə-jee/ n. The study of viruses.
virus /VIRE-əs/ n. An ultramicroscopic, noncellular parasite that can reproduce only within a host cell (DIAGRAM OF VIRAL REPLICATON). Viruses consist of nucleic acid covered by protein; some animal viruses are also surrounded by membrane. Inside the infected cell, the virus uses the translational system of the host to produce progeny virus. Viruses are tiny. They only carry enough genetic material to encode a few proteins. Many viruses, such as poliovirus and rhinovirus, carry the bare minimum — just enough to specify their own structure and get synthesis started once they get inside cells.
visceral /VISS-er-əl/ adj. Of or pertaining to the visera.
vitreous body /VIT-ree-əs/ n. The gelatinous, transparent mass that fills the eyeball. It is enclosed in the hyaline membrane. MORE INFORMATION
Online Biology Dictionary (VIVI-)
VLDL Very low-density lipoprotein.
Online Biology Dictionary (W)
W chromosome n. See: sex chromosomes.
water bears n. Common name for tardigrades.
western blot n. A technique used to identify and locate proteins based on their ability to bind to specific antibodies.
woody Composed of, or being plant tissue composed of, cells containing large amounts of lignin.
Online Biology Dictionary (X)
X chromosome n. See: sex chromosomes.
Online Biology Dictionary (XENO-)
xenograft /ZEE-nō-graft/ n. Tissue or organs from an individual of one type of organism transplanted into or grafted onto an individual of some other type treated as a distinct species. For example, pig heart valves are often transplanted into humans.
xenon (Xe) /ZEE-nawn or ZEN-awn/ n. Chemical element; A noble gas present in the atmosphere; atomic weight 131.30, atomic number 54; colorless, heavy, odorless,largely inert. PERIODIC TABLE
Online Biology Dictionary (XER-)
xerophyte /ZEAR-ō-fīt/ n. A plant capable of living under dry (xeric) conditions — xerophytic /zear-ō-FIT-ick/
xiphocostal /ZĪ-fō-CAWST-əl/ adj. Concerning the ribs and xiphoid process.
XMP Xanthosine monophosphate.
x-ray diffraction /də-FRAK-shən/ n. A technique used to study the molecular structure of substances. In this method, x-rays are passed through the substance under analysis and then, on the basis of the resulting patterns of diffraction, inferences are made about its structure.
Online Biology Dictionary (Y)
Y chromosome See: sex chromosomes.
YAC /YAK/ n. yeast artificial chromosome.
YADH Yeast alcohol dehydrogenase.
yolk /yōk/ n. The contents of an ovum, especially the nutritive portion thereof.
yolk /yōk/ n. The contents of an ovum, especially the nutritive portion thereof.
Online Biology Dictionary (Z)
Z chromosome n. See: sex chromosomes.
zinc finger n. See: finger protein.
zone of differentiation /diff-er-rehn-shee-AY-shən/ n. In plant roots, the region where new cells develop into distinct cell types.
zone of elongation /el-lawng-GAY-shən/ n. In plant roots, the region where new cells grow and lengthen before differentiating.
zonula ciliaris Zonule of Zinn.
zonule of Zinn /ZŌN-yool/ n. Ligament supporting the lens of the eye (syn. zonula ciliaris).
zonulitis /zōn-yə-LĪT-əs/ n. Inflammation of the zonule of Zinn.
Online Biology Dictionary (ZOO-)
zoosterol /zō-AWST-ə-rawl/ n. Any animal sterol.
zorse n. A hybrid resulting from hybridization of a horse with a zebra. PICTURE
Online Biology Dictionary (ZYGO)
zygodactyly /ZĪ-gō-DAK-til-ee/ n. (1) congenital fusion of fingers; (2) of, pertaining, to or being zygodactyl.
zygoma (also zygomatic arch or zygomatic process) /zī-GŌ-mə/ The bridge of bone connecting the malar and temporal bones and forming the lateral region of the orbit. PICTURE
zygomatic /ZĪ-gō-MAT-ick/ adj. Of or pertaining to the zygoma.
zygospore /ZĪ-gə-spor/ n. A structure in fungi that forms from a diploid zygote that results from fusion of two hyphae of different mating types. The zygospore forms sporangia, in which meiosis takes place and spores form.
zygote /ZĪ-gōt/ n. A fertilized egg, produced by the union of a male and female gamete. A zygote goes on to develop into a multicellular organism by repeated cell division (mitosis).
Online Biology Dictionary (ZYMO-)
zymogenic /zī-mō-JEN-ik/ adj. The scientific study of fermentation.
zymology /zī-MALL-ə-gee/ n. Producing fermentation.
Zymonema /zī-mō-NEEM-ə/ n. A former name of the fungus genus Histoplasma. The fungus Histoplasma capsulatum is the causative agent of histoplasmosis.
zymotic /zī-MAWT-ick/ adj. Of or relating to fermentation.