|agrobacterium||A naturally occurring bacterium that has the ability to transfer genes into plant
such as tobacco and soybean.
|antibiotic||A class of natural and synthetic compounds that inhibit the growth of or kill
|The ability of a microorganism to produce a protein that disables an antibiotic
or prevents transport of the antibiotic into the cell.
|aquaculture||The cultivation of plants using water as the support medium. It can also mean
rearing marine life under controlled conditions in water, such as fish farming.
|A bacterium that kills insects; a major component of the microbial pesticide
|bacteriophage||A virus that infects bacteria. In genetic engineering, it is used to introduce
genes into bacteria cells.
|bacterium||A structurally simple single cell with no nucleus. One bacterium bacillus
thuringiensis, produces a protein toxic to certain destructive insects. Having
plants produce this protein after genetic engineering is a form of built-in
pest-resistant in plants.
|base||One of the molecules - adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine, or uracil - which
form part of the structure of DNA and RNA molecules. The order of bases in a
DNA molecule determines the structure of proteins encoded by that DNA.
|base pair (bp)||Two complementary nucleotide bases joined together by chemical bonds.
The two strands of the DNA molecule are held together in the shape of a
double helix by the bonds between base pairs. The base adenine paris with
thymine, and guanine pairs with cytosine.
|bioconversion||Chemical conversion of a compound by biological means.|
|biodegradable||Able to be broken down by micro-organisms in the environment.|
|biodiversity||The wide diversity and interrelatedness of earth organisms based on genetic
and environmental factors, the variety of flora and fauna in the natural
|bioethics||A discipline dealing with the ethical implications of biological research and
|biogas||Methane that is produced from an anaerobic digestor.|
|bioinformatics||The science of informatics as applied to biological research. Informatics is
the management and analysis of data using advanced computing
techniques.Bioinformatics is particularly important as an adjunct to genomics
research, because of the large amount of complex data this research
|bioinsecticides||Microorganisms and viruses acting as diseases to insects.|
|biomass||The total sum of living organisms in a culture. It can be used as a source of
fuel, energy, commodity chemicals, animal feed, and specialty products (e.g.
flavours, fragrances, pigments).
|biomaterials||Materials with novel chemical, physical, mechanical or 'intelligent' properties,
produced through processes that employ or mimic biological phenomena.
|bioremediation||The use of living systems or their products to degrade wastes into less toxic
or non-toxic products.
|biotechnology||The application of biological research techniques to the development of
products which improve human health, animal health and agriculture.
|Herbicides that kill a wide range of plant types.|
|bt crops||Genetically engineered to carry the gene from the soil bacterium bacillus
thuringiensis. The bacteria produces a protein that is toxic when ingested by
certain lepidopteran insects. Crops containing the Bt gene are able to
produce this toxin, thereby providing protection throughout the entire plant.
|bt cotton||Genetically engineered to control tobacco budworms, bollworms and pink bollworms.|
|bt corn (maize)||Genetically engineered to provide protection against the European corn borer.|
|buffer zone||(or 'separation distance') A strip of land separating different types of crop, wide
enough to minimise the level of cross-pollination between them.
|cell||The smallest structural unit of all living organisms that is able to grow and
reproduce independently. A cell is a mass of living material surrounded by
|Growth of cells or tissues in the laboratory or in vitro.|
|cell line||Cells that grow and replicate continuously outside the livingorganism.|
|chloroplast||Structure in plant cells in which photosynthesis occurs.|
|chromosome||The DNA in a cell is divided into structures called
chromosomes.Chromosomes are large enough to be seen under a
microscope. In humans, all cells than germ cells usually contain 46
chromosomes: 22 pairs of autosomes and either a pair of X chromosomes
(in females) or an X chromosome and a Y chromosome (in males). In each
pair of chromosomes, one chromosome is inherited from a individual's father
and one from his or her mother.
|clone||A term which is applied to genes, cells, or entire organisms which are derived
from - and are genetically identical to - a single common ancestor gene, cell
or organism respectively. Cloning of genes and cells to create many copies in
the laboratory is a common procedure essential for biomedical research.
Note that several processes which are commonly described as cell "cloning"
give rise to cells which are almost but not completely genetically identical to
the ancestor cell. "Cloning" of organisms from embryonic cells occurs
naturally in nature (e.g. with the occurrence of identical twins). The laboratory
cloning of a sheep using the genetic material from a cell of an adult animal
has been reported.
|cloning||The use of techniques of molecular biology to produce multiple copies of
segments of DNA, usually genes.
|cloning vector||DNA molecule originating from a virus, a plasmid or the cell of a higher
organism into which another DNA fragment of appropriate size can be
integrated without loss of the vectors capacity for self-replication; vectors
introduce foreign DNA into host cells, where it can be reproduced in large
quantities. Examples are plasmids, cosmids, and yeast artifical
chromosomes; vectors are often recombinant molecules containing DNA
sequences from several sources.
|code||The sequence of DNA-bases which forms the instructions for a given
characteristic or trait.
|A technique for rapidly and systematically assembling a variety of molecular
entities or building blocks, in many different combinations, to create tens of
thousands of diverse compounds that can be tested in drug discovery
screening assays to identify potential useful candidates.
||Under the Treaty establishing the European Community, it is for the
Commission to implement legislation at Community level (Article 202 of the
EC Treaty, ex-Article 145). In practice, each legislative instrument specifies the
scope of the implementing powers granted to the Commission and how the
Commission is to use them. Frequently, the instrument will also make
provision for the Commission to be assisted by a committee in accordance
with a procedure known as "comitology".
The committees which are forums for discussion, consist of representatives
from Member States and are chaired by the Commission. They enable the
Commission to establish a dialogue with national administrations before
adopting implementing measures. The Commission ensures that they reflect
as far as possible the situation in each country in question.
Committees base their opinions on the draft implementing measures
prepared by the Commission. The committees can be divided into the
It also provides the criteria which, depending on the matter under discussion,
will guide the legislative authority in its choice of committee procedure for the
item of legislation; this is meant to facilitate the adoption of the legislation
under the codecision procedure.
The ultimate aim is, with the computerisation of decision-making procedures,
to publish the full texts of non-confidential documents transmitted to
Parliament on the Internet. From 2000 onwards, the Commission will publish
an annual report giving a summary of committee activities during the previous
|The committees, whose task it is to assist the Community institutions, are
involved at all stages of the legislative process. The Commission regularly
consults committees of experts before drawing up a new proposal for
legislation. These committees, which are made up of representatives of the
milieux involved, private sector or national government experts, ensure that the
Commission remains open to the concerns of those who will be affected by
the legislation. There are about 60 advisory committees covering all sectors,
though about half of them deal with agricultural issues.
In the European Parliament, various permanent committees organise the
work of the MEPs.
The Council is also assisted by committees and working parties which
prepare its decisions. The existence of certain committees is provided for in
the treaties (Article 36 Committee for justice and home affairs, for example),
and others are ad hoc committees such as the Cultural Affairs Committee,
which evaluates proposals on cultural cooperation, prepares the Council
discussions and follows up action taken. These committees are made up of
representatives of the Member States plus one member of the Commission.
In parallel, various working parties do the preparatory work for Coreper. While
some of them are set up on a temporary basis to deal with a particular
dossier, about a hundred groups cover a given sector and meet regularly.
When a legislative text has been adopted, it lays down the general principles
to be respected. More precise implementing measures may be necessary to
apply these principles. In this case, the text provides that a committee is to be
set up within the Commission in order to take the appropriate decisions.
These committees are made up of experts nominated by the Member States
and chaired by the Commission, and are generally governed by rules
established by the 1987 Council decision known as the 'Comitology
Decision'. There are about 300 of them, in the fields of industry, social affairs,
agriculture, the environment, the internal market, research and development,
consumer protection and food safety.
The common agricultural policy is a matter reserved exclusively for the
Community. Under Article 33 of the EC Treaty (former Article 39), its aims are
to ensure reasonable prices for Europe's consumers and fair incomes for
farmers, in particular by establishing common agricultural market
organisations and by applying the principles of single prices, financial
solidarity and Community preference.
The CAP is one of the most important Union policies (agricultural expenditure
accounts for some 45% of the Community budget). Policy is decided by
qualified majority vote in the Council after consultation of the European
With a view to enlargement a new reform package was adopted in 1999 for
the period 2000-2006. Under the approach proposed by the Commission in
Agenda 2000 in July 1997, it reinforces the changes made in 1992 and puts
the emphasis on food safety, environmental objectives and sustainable
|The Community has exclusive responsibility for the common commercial
policy (Article 133 of the EC Treaty, formerly Article 113). Under the policy a
customs union has been established between the Member States of the
Community, with uniform principles governing changes in tariff rates, the
conclusion of tariff and trade agreements with non-member countries, import
and export policy, etc. Decisions are taken by qualified majority in the Council.
The Treaty of Amsterdam amended Article 113 to allow the Council, acting by
unanimous vote, to extend the scope of the common commercial policy to
international negotiations and agreements on services and intellectual
property. To ensure that the accession of new Member States does not block
application of this provision, the Commission has proposed to the
Intergovernmental Conference launched in February 2000 that the common
commercial policy should be extended to the agreements in question.
|The Community acquis or "acquis communautaire"is the body of common
rights and obligations which bind all the Member States together within the
European Union. It is constantly evolving and comprises:
Thus the Community acquis comprises not only Community law in the strict
sense, but also all acts adopted under the second and third pillars of the
European Union and, above all, the common objectives laid down in the
Applicant countries have to accept the Community acquis before they can join
the European Union. Exemptions and derogations from the acquis are
granted only in exceptional circumstances and are limited in scope. The
Union has committed itself to maintaining the Community acquis in its entirety
and developing it further. There is no question of going back on it.
|Strictly speaking, Community law consists of the founding Treaties (primary
legislation) and the provisions of instruments enacted by the Community
institutions by virtue of them (secondary legislation).
In a broader sense, Community law encompasses all the rules of the
Community legal order, including general principles of law, the case law of
the Court of Justice, law flowing from the Community's external relations and
supplementary law contained in conventions and similar agreements
concluded between the Member States to give effect to Treaty provisions.
All these rules of law form part of what is known as the Community acquis.
|The term Community legal instruments refers to the instruments available to
the Community institutions to carry out their tasks under the Treaty
establishing the European Community with due respect for the subsidiarity
principle. They are:
|Consumer protection is dealt with in Article 153 of the EC Treaty (former Article
129a), which was inserted by the Treaty of Maastricht. It is intended to promote
consumers' health, safety, economic and legal interests, and their right to
Article 153 explicitly refers to another legal basis for the attainment of its
objectives, namely to Article 95 (former Article 100a), which requires the
codecision procedure for all measures involving closer alignment of Member
States' legislation on completion of the single market where consumer
protection is concerned. At the same time, it stipulates that specific action
supporting and supplementing the policy pursued by the Member States is to
be adopted under the codecision procedure, after consultation of the
Economic and Social Committee.
A Member State may keep or introduce stricter consumer protection
measures than those laid down by the Community, as long as they are
compatible with the Treaty and the Commission is notified of them.
|Council of the EU||The Council of the Union (Council, sometimes referred to as the Council of
Ministers) is the European Union's main decision-making institution. It
consists of the ministers of the fifteen Member States responsible for the
matters on the agenda: foreign affairs, farming, industry, transport or
whatever. Despite the existence of these different ministerial compositions
depending on the matter in hand, the Council is nonetheless a single
Each country in the Union in turn holds the chair for six months. Decisions are
prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member
States (Coreper), assisted by working parties of national government officials.
The Council is assisted by its General Secretariat.
Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Secretary-
General acts as High Representative for the common foreign and security
policy. He is assisted by a Deputy Secretary-General appointed by unanimous
decision of the Council, who is responsible for running the Council's General
Qualified majority voting in the Council now applies to most of the new
provisions (incentive measures in employment and social policy, public
health and fraud prevention) and for the adoption of the framework
programme on research.
|Court of Justice
|The Court of Justice of the European Communities is made up of fifteen
judges assisted by nine advocates-general appointed for six years by
agreement among the Member States. It has two principal functions: to check
whether instruments of the European institutions and of governments are
compatible with the Treaties, and, at the request of a national court, to
pronounce on the interpretation or the validity of provisions contained in
The Court is assisted by a Court of First Instance, set up in 1989, which has
special responsibility for dealing with administrative disputes in the European
institutions and disputes arising from the Community competition rules.
|copy gene||Genetic material incorporating the genetic code for a desirable trait which has
been copied from the DNA of the donor to the host organism. (It is not
technically possible to take a gene from a donor organism and insert it directly
into the host organism).
|crop rotation||A farming technique whereby different types of crops are grown over
|crop rotation||A farming technique whereby different types of crops are grown over
|cross-pollination||Transfer of pollen from a flower of one plant or population to the stigma of a
flower of another plant or population.
|cultivar||A variety of plant produced through selective breeding by humans and
maintained by cultivation.
|All the Union's revenue and expenditure is entered in the Community budget
on the basis of the annual forecasts. The operational expenditure involved in
implementing Titles V and VI of the EU Treaty may, however, constitute an
exception to this rule by being charged to the Member States.
The Community budget is based on several principles, including:
The Commission is responsible for submitting a preliminary draft budget to
the Council, which shares budgetary authority with the European Parliament.
The nature of the expenditure determines which of the two institutions has the
final say, depending on whether the expenditure is compulsory or not.
However, quite apart from the classification of expenditure and the ensuing
power-sharing, it should be remembered that it is the European Parliament
that finally adopts or rejects the budget in its entirety.
|cytoplasm||The material inside a cell located between the cell's nucleus and the cell
membrane. Cytoplasm is a mixture of water, dissolved ions, sugars, and
proteins. Cytoplasm includes a number of filaments and tubules, all arranged
in a three-dimensional lattice, that provide support for the cell's organelles.
|diploid cell||Cell containing two structurally identical sets of chromosomes, except sex
|DNA||(deoxyribonucleic acid) The molecule that encodes genetic information. DNA
is a double-stranded helix held together by bonds between pairs of
nucleotides. See: base, base pair and double helix.
|DNA bank||A service which stores DNA extracted from blood samples or other human
tissue. DNA samples stored in the DNA bank may be used, for example, to
help individuals and their physicians to trace the pattern of disease in families
or for the purposs of future medical research.
|DNA "fingerprint"||Profile of an organism's genetic material, typically determined from DNA
segments in order to illuminate the differences between and among
|DNA polymerase||Enzyme catalysing DNA synthesis from deoxyribonucleotides and a template
|Multiple alternative sequences of DNA occurring at a particular gene site.|
|DNA probe||A piece of single-stranded DNA, typically labelled so that it can be detected
(for example a radioactive or fluorescent label can be used), which can single
out and can only bind with another specific piece of DNA. DNA probes can be
used to determine which sequences are present in a given length of DNA or
which genes are present in a sample of DNA.
|DNA repair genes||Genes which code for proteins which correct "mistakes" in DNA sequences.
When these genes are altered, mutations may be able to accumulate in the
genome, ultimately resulting in disease.
|DNA sequencing||Technique for deciphering the order of nucleotide bases in a DNA segment.|
|double helix||Describes the coiling of the antiparallel strands of the DNA molecule,
resembling a spiral staircase in which the paired bases form the steps and
the sugar-phosphate backbones form the rails.
|E. coli||(Escherichia coli) Common bacterium that has been studied intensively by
geneticists because of its small genome size, normal lack of pathogenicity
and ease of growth in the laboratory.
|ecology||The study of the interaction of organisms with their environment and with each
|National economic policies are identified in the Treaty as a matter of common
concern requiring a degree of coordination within the Council to help attain the
In practical terms, the Council, acting by a qualified majority on a
recommendation from the Commission, formulates draft guidelines which
are sent to the European Council. In the light of that body's conclusions, the
Council, again by qualified majority, adopts a recommendation setting out the
broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and the
Community and informs the European Parliament (Article 99(2) of the EC
|ecosystem||The organisms in a plant population and the biotic and abiotic factors which
impact on them.
|electrophoresis||A method of separating large molecules (such as DNA fragments or proteins)
from a mixture of similar molecules. An electric current is passed through a
medium containing the mixture and each kind of molecule travels through the
medium at a different rate depending on its electrical charge and size.
Separation is based on these differences. Agarose and acrylamide gels are
the media commonly used for electrophoresis of proteins and nucleic acids.
|environment (EU)||The aim of Community environment policy is to preserve, protect and improve
the quality of the environment and to protect people's health. It also sets great
store by the prudent and rational use of natural resources. Lastly, it seeks to
promote measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide
environmental problems (Article 174, formerly Article 130r).
|enzyme||A protein that facilitates a biochemical reaction in a cell. In general, these
biochemical reactions would not occur if the enzyme is not present. For
example, an enzyme can facilitate (also called "catalyze") the destruction of
another protein by breaking the bonds between amino acids. An enzyme of
that type is called a protease.
|eukaryote||Cell or organism with membrane-bound, structurally discrete nucleus and
other well-developed subcellular compartments. Eukaryotes include all
organisms except viruses, bacteria and blue-green algae. Compare
prokaryote. See: chromosomes.
|The European Commission is a body with powers of initiative,
implementation, management and control. It is the guardian of the Treaties
and the embodiment of the interests of the Community. It is composed of
twenty independent members (two each from France, Germany, Italy, Spain
and the United Kingdom and one each from all the other countries), including
a President and two Vice-Presidents. It is appointed for a five-year term, by
agreement among the Member States, and is subject to a vote of
appointment by the European Parliament, to which it is answerable, before it
can be sworn in. The Commissioners are assisted by an administration
made up of directorates-general and specialised departments whose staff
are divided mainly between Brussels and Luxembourg.
|ex vivo||(Latin) Pertaining to a biological process or reaction taking place outside of a
living cell or organism. See also: in vivo.
|exogenous DNA||DNA which has been introduced into an organism but which originated
outside that organism (e.g. material inserted into a cell by a virus).
|expressed gene||See: gene expression.|
|expressed sequence tag (EST)||A short strand of DNA (approx. 200 base pairs long) which is part of a cDNA.
Because an EST is usually unique to a particular cDNA, and because cDNAs
correspond to a particular gene in the genome, ESTs can be used to help
identify unknown genes and to map their position in the genome.
|expression||See: gene expression.|
|The European Community's external responsibilities are defined in
accordance with whether they are conferred on the Community or on the
Member States. They are described as "exclusive" where they are exercised
entirely by the Community (e.g. the common agricultural policy) and "mixed"
where they are shared with the Member States (e.g. the transport policy).
The distinction has been defined in Court of Justice case law and is based
on the principle of implicit responsibility, whereby external responsibility
derives from the existence of internal responsibility. The Treaty confers explicit
responsibility in only two cases: commercial policy (Article 133, formerly Article
113) and association agreements (Article 310, formerly Article 238).
|financial perspective (EU)||The financial perspective forms the framework for Community expenditure over
a period of several years. It is the product of an interinstitutional agreement
between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission and
indicates the maximum volume and the composition of the foreseeable
Community expenditure. It is adjusted annually by the Commission to take
account of prices and the development of Community GNP.
|full gene sequence||The complete order of bases in a gene. This order determines which protein a
gene will produce.
|functional food||Food enriched or fortified with components or ingredients offering a specific
health benefit other than a strict nutritional effect.
|fungicide||A substance that kills fungi.|
|fungus||Type of microorganism with distinct nucleus and cytoplasm, e.g. bread mould.|
|fusion||The process of joining the membranes of two cells to create another cell that
contains the nuclear material from both parent cells.
|gamete||Mature reproductive cell, usually haploid, serving fertilisation.|
|gene||A length of DNA which codes for a particular protein, or in certain cases a
functional or structural RNA molecule.
|gene expression||The process by which the information in a gene is used to create proteins.|
|gene families||Groups of closely related genes that make similar products.|
|gene flow||Gradual exchange of genetic material between populations caused by the
dispersal of gametes or the migration of individuals.
|gene library||A collection of cloned DNA fragments which, taken together, represent the
entire genome of a specific organism. Such libraries or "gene banks" are
assembled such as to allow the isolation and study of individual genes. Gene
libraries are produced by first breaking up or "fractionating" an entire genome.
This fractionation can be accomplished either by physical methods or by use of
restriction enzymes. The genome fragments are then cloned (multiplied in
number) and stored for later use.
|gene pool||The total genetic material of a freely interbreeding population at a given time.|
|gene product||The protein produced by a gene.|
|gene targeting||Knocking out the functioning of specific genes of an organism by genetic
|genetic code||The set of codons in DNA or mRNA. Each codon is made up of three
nucleotides which call for a unique amino acid. For example, the set AUG
(adenine, uracil, guanine) calls for the amino acid methionine. The sequence
of codons along an mRNA molecule specifies the sequence of amino acids in
a particular protein.
|genetic disease||A disease that has its origin in changes to the genetic material, -DNA. Usually
refers to diseases that are inherited in a Mendelian fashion, although
non-inherited forms of cancer also result from DNA mutation.
|genetic engineering||Altering the genetic material of cells or organisms in order to make them
capable of making new substances or performing new functions.
|genetic line||A variety or strain known to possess valuable characters.|
|genetic map||A map of a genome which shows the relative positions of the genes and/or
markers on the chromosomes.
|genetic marker||See: marker.|
|genetic model||The overall specification of how the disease allele(s) act to influence the
disease. For parametric (model-dependent) linkage analysis, the genetic
model must be specified for the analysis.Components of the genetic model
include information on whether the disorder is autosomal or X-linked, dominant
or recessive, the frequency and penetrance of the disease allele, the frequency
of phenocopies, and the mutation rate.
|A technique whereby individual genes can be copied and transferred to another
living organism to alter its genetic make up and thus incorporate or delete
specific characteristics into or from the organism.
|genetic mosaic||An organism which contains cells with different genetic information. This can
result from a mutation occurring in a cell (or cells) at some point during
development, or by the fusion of embryos at an early stage in their respective
development. Such organisms develop into adult organisms that are also
referred to as "chimeras". Organisms that express both male and female
characteristics by virtue of being a mosaic of male and female cells are
referred to as "gyandromorphs".
|genetic mutation||A change in the nucleotide sequence of a DNA molecule. Genetic mutations
are a kind of genetic polymorphism.. The term "mutation", as opposed to
"polymorphism", is generally used to refer to changes in DNA sequence which
are not present in most individuals of a species and either have been
associated with disease (or risk of disease) or have resulted from damage
inflicted by external agents (such as viruses or radiation).
|A difference in DNA sequence among individuals, groups or populations (e.g. a
genetic polymorphism might give rise to blue eyes versus brown eyes, or
straigt hair versus curly hair). Genetic polymorphisms may be the result of
chance processes, or may have been induced by external agents (such as
viruses or radiation). If a difference in DNA sequence among individuals has
been shown to be associated with disease, it will usually be called a genetic
mutation. Changes in DNA sequence which have been confirmed to be caused
by external agents are also generally called "mutations" rather than
|Susceptibility to a disease which is related to a genetic mutation, which may or
may not result in actual development of the disease.
|genetic testing||The analysis of an individual's genetic material. Among the purposes of genetic
testing could be to gather information on an individual's genetic
predisposisiton to particular health conditions or to confirm a diagnosis of
|genomic DNA||The basic chromosome set consisting of a species-specific number of linkage
groups and the genes contained therein.
|genome||All the genetic material in the chromosomes of a particular organism; its size is
generally given as its total number of base pairs.
|genomic library||A collection of clones made from a set of randomly generated overlapping DNA
fragments representing the entire genome of an organism. Compare: library,
|genomics||The study of genes and their function. Recent advances in genomics are
bringing about a revolution in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms
of disease, includig the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors.
Genomics is also stimulating the discovery of breakthrough healthcare
products by revealing thousands of new biological targets for the development
of drugs, and by giving scientists innovative ways to design new drugs,
vaccines and DNA diagnostics. Genomics-based therapeutics include
"traditional" small chemical drugs, protein drugs and potentially gene therapy.
|genotype||The particular genetic pattern seen in the DNA of an individual. "Genotype" is
usually used to refer to the particular pair of alleles that an individual
possesses at a certain location in the genome. Compare: phenotype.
|germ cell||Reproductive cell; sperm and egg cells, and their precursors. Germ cells have
only one set of chromosomes (23 in all), while all other cells have two copies
(46 in all).
|GM, GMO||See: genetic modification.|
|golden rice||A strain of genetically altered rice to combat vitamin A deficiency, containing
three transplanted genes that allow plants to produce rice kernels containing
beta-carotene, a compound that is converted to vitamin A in the human body.
Vitamin A deficiency is the world's leading cause of blindness and a malaise
that affects as many as 250 million children.
|Green Paper (EU)||Commission Green Papers are documents intended to stimulate debate and
launch a process of consultation at European level on a particular topic (such
as social policy, the single currency, telecommunications). These
consultations may then lead to the publication of a White Paper, translating the
conclusions of the debate into practical proposals for Community action.
|green Revolution||Advances in genetics, petrochemicals and machinery that culminated in a
dramatic increase in crop productivity during the third quarter of the 20th
|haploid cell||Cell containing only one set (or half the usual diploid number) of
|herbicide||Any substance that is toxic to plants; usually used to kill specific unwanted
|herbicide tolerant||A plant that is tolerant of (specific) herbicides. Herbicide-tolerant crops were
developed to survive certain herbicides that previously would have destroyed
the crop along with the targeted weeds, and allow farmers to use them as
postemergent herbicides, providing an effective weed control. The most
common herbicide-tolerant crops (cotton, corn, soybeans and canola) are
Roundup Ready (RR) crops resistant to glyphosate, a herbicide effective on
many species of grasses, broadleaf weeds and sedges. Other genetically
modified herbicide-tolerant crops include Liberty Link (LL) corn resistant to
glufosinate-ammonium and BXN cotton resistant to bromoxynil.
|high fructose corn syrup||Syrup produced from corn starch by enzymatic degradation. Regular high
fructose corn syrup contains 42% fructose, 52% glucose and 6% higher
|hybrid||The progeny of genetically dissimilar parents; a heterozygote.|
|hybridisation||The process of joining two complementary strands of DNA or one each of DNA
and RNA to form a double-stranded molecule.
Twins which have been produced by the division of a single zygote (monozygotic). Each twin has an identical genotype. While each twin begins with the same set of genetic information, the effect of the environment within which each individual grows up can cause differences in how their genetic make-up is expressed.
A biological defence system that has evolved in vertebrates to protect them against the introduction of foreign material (such as pollen or invading micro-organisms) and to prevent the body from developing cancer. See also: immune response and antigen.
Industry has been the subject of a specific article in the EC Treaty since 1993, when the EU Treaty came into force. Article 157 (former Article 130) requires the Community and the Member States to secure the conditions necessary for the competitiveness of Community industry.
Specific measures may be taken by the Community, but only on condition that they do not entail any distortion of competition. The Community is also required to contribute towards achieving the objectives of Article 157 through the policies and activities it pursues under other provisions of the Treaty.
In terms of decision-making, the Council acts unanimously on a Commission proposal, after consulting the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
|insect resistant||A plant that contains substances (proteins) which kill or deter plant-eating
|insecticide||A substance that kills insects.|
|in situ hybridisation||
Use of a DNA or RNA probe to detect the presence of the complementary DNA sequence in cloned bacterial or cultured eukaryotic cells.
Pertaining to a biochemical process or reaction taking place in a test-tube (or more broadly, in a lab) as opposed to taking place in a living cell or organism. Compare "in vivo".
Pertaining to a biological process or reaction taking place in a living cell or organism. Compare "ex vivo" and "in vitro".
The process by which an individual willingly and voluntarily agrees to participate in an activity after first understanding the risks and benefits or participation vs. non-participation in an activity or research study. In a genetic study, potential participants should be appraised of the study goals, risks, benefits, alternative to participation ,disclosure policies and financial and time commitments involved in study participation. The informed consent process should be documents, typically with a signed consent form approved by an Institutional Review Board. Special considerations apply to vulnerable populations (i.e., minors, mentally handicapped individuals).
A cross between two animals that have the same heterozygous genotype at designated loci; for example, between sibling F1 hybrids that were derived from an outcross between two inbred strains.
The period in the cell cycle when DNA is replicated in the nucleus; followed by mitosis.
A set of clones of DNA sequences from an organism's genome. A particular library might include, for example, clones of all of the DNA sequences expressed in a certain kind of cell, or in a certain organ of the body. See: gene expression.
Refers to the tendency of certain genes to be inherited together. Two genes are said to be "linked" if they are often inherited together, due to their close proximity on a chronosome. See: marker.
A map of the relative positions of genetic loci on a chromosome, determined on the basis of how often the loci are inherited together. Distance is measured in centimorgans (cM).
Organic substances (e.g. fats, oils, steroids etc.), insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents.
A living organism that has a new combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.
Determination of the original position (locus) of a gene or other marker on a chromosome.
(pl. loci) The position on a chromosome of a gene or other chromosome marker; also, the DNA at that posistion . The use of locus is sometimes restricted to mean regions of DNA that are expressed. See: gene expression.
Maps of the human genome are generally of two types, genetic and physical. Genetic maps measure the amount of recombination between two loc and genetic map units are quantified as either % recombination (theta) or cM between two loci. Physical maps aim to quantify the actual amount of DNA, ususally in base pairs, between two loci. 1% recombination is equivalent to 1,000,000 base pairs of DNA. (See cM description).
See: genetic map.
A group of organisms sharing a common gene pool used in the construction of a genetic map.
A sequence of bases at a unique physical location in the genome, which varies sufficiently between individuals that its pattern of inheritance can be tracked through families and/or it can be used to distinguish among cell types. A marker may or may not be part of a gene. Markers are essential for use in linkage studies and genetic maps to help scientists to narrow down the possible location of new genes, and to discover the associations between genetic mutations and disease.
The reduction division process by which haploid gametes and spores are formed, consisting of a single duplication of the genetic material followed by two mitotic divisions.
In cells, the "plasma" or "cell" membrane is a sheet-like structure that surrounds cell, contains their inner contents and regulates the movement of materials in and out of the cell. At the tissue level, membranes (tissues usually composed of cells) also serve to surround and regulate material transport, but do so at a larger level.
An organism that can be seen only under a microscope. Categories of microorganisms include Algae, Bacteria, Fungi, Protozoa, Viruses or Subviral Agents. Also referred to as microbe
The process of nuclear division in cells that produces daughter cells that are genetically identical to each other and to the parent cell.
The study of the biochemical and molecular interactions witin living cells.
The biological amplification of a specific DNA sequence through mitotic division of a host cell into which it has been transformed or transfected. See: cloning.
The task of monitoring the application of Community law falls to the European Commission as the guardian of the Treaties. It is an expression of the fact that the European Union is based on the rule of law and its purpose is to make sure that the law is observed and actually applied in and by the Member States. In exercising its monitoring function the Commission takes care to safeguard the role which is also assigned to national authorities, particularly the courts, in this area.
Monitoring the application of the law may take the following forms:
The Commission's annual reports on the application of Community law are an expression of the desire for transparency in dealings not only with complainants but also with citizens and members of parliament.
A cell produced by the fusion of an antibody-producing cell (such as a B-lymphocyte) with an immortal cancer cell, This process is accomplished in a laboratory and produces a hybrid (hybridoma) that expresses properties of both cells. Since the cells are all identical and are produced by cloning one specific cell in great numbers, they are called "monoclonal". These cells produce large amounts of a specific antibody that bind to a specific surface antigen. Since the cells are all identical they can be used to identify, and then isolate a specific cell population, such as a collection of cells responsible for disease. Monoclonal antibodies are often used in vaccine development processes.
Twins which have been produced by the division of a single zygote. Each twin has an identical genotype. As such, these individuals are often referred to as "identical twins". While each twin begins with the same set of genetic information, the effect of the environment within which each individual grows up can cause differences in how their genetic make-up is expressed.
A trait is considered to be multifactorial in origin when two or more genes, together with an environmental effect, work together to lead to a phenotype.
|multiple gene line||
A mixture of pure lines or cultivated varieties that are phenotypically similar in all important agronomic characteristics but are genotypically different.
(to herbicides) Of a plant, being able to tolerate a number of different herbicides.
A sequencing approach that uses several pooled samples simultaneously, greatly increasing sequencing speed.
A process by which the genetic information of an organism is changed in a stable, heritable manner, either in nature or experimentally by the use of chemicals or radiation. In agriculture, these genetic changes are used to develop useful traits.
A change, deletion, or rearrangement in the DNA sequence that may lead to the synthesis of an altered inactive protein the loss of the ability to produce the protein. If a mutation occurs in a germ cell, then it is a heritable change in that it can be transmitted to all daughter cells.
|Herbicides that kill a limited range of plant types.|
A roundworm or threadworm that attacks plants and animals.
Property of microorgisms to convert nitrogen gas from the atmosphere into a chemically combined form, ammonia, which is essential to plant growth.
|novel trait in a
A plant possessing characteristics not normally found in that species where the new characteristic has been created through specific genetic manipulation, transformation, mutation, etc..
The transfer of a diploid cell nucleus from a donor cell into another cell that has had its original nucleus removed (enucleated cell).
The 'building block' of nucleic acids, such as the DNA molecule. A nucleotide consists of one of four bases - adenine, guanine, cytosine or thymine - attached to a phosphate-sugar group. In DNA the sugar group is desoxyribose, while in RNA (a DNA-related molecule which helps to translate genetic information into proteins), the sugar group is ribose, and the base uracil substitutes for thymine. Each group of three nucleotides in a gene is known as a codon. A nucleic acid is a long chain of nucleotides joined together, and therefore is sometimes referred to as a "polynucleotide".
Various committees have been set up within the European Parliament to organise its work. The members of each committee are elected at the beginning of and half-way through each parliamentary term, according to their political affiliation and their expertise.
Parliament's Rules of Procedure specify that the Members of Parliament set the number of committees and determine their powers. At present there are seventeen specialised permanent committees in which the Commission's proposals are discussed. Parliament can also set up sub-committees, temporary committees and committees of inquiry if it considers it necessary. Two committees of inquiry have been set up so far: on the Community transit procedure in 1996 and on the bovine spongiform encepalopathy (BSE) epidemic in 1997.
The main task of the permanent committees is to debate proposals for new legislation put forward by the European Commission and to draw up own-initiative reports. For any proposal for legislation or other initiative, a rapporteur is nominated according to an agreement between the political groups which make up Parliament. His or her report is discussed, amended and voted on within the parliamentary committee and then transmitted to the plenary assembly, which meets once a month in Strasbourg, and which debates and votes on the basis of this report.
As preparation for Parliament's vote of approval of the European Commission, the parliamentary committees also hear the proposed Members of the Commission in their specialised areas.
Specific causative agent of disease.
|Microorganism causing disease to animals and plants.|
The breeding line from which a parent of a cross is taken.
The development of an organism from an unfertilized egg. This process is relatively common in plants, but less so among animals. Some species of insects can produce large numbers of individuals which are diploid. Some species of lizards can also produce diploid progeny. Since a female parent is, in essence, cloning herself, parthenogenesis always produces only female offspring, since no recombination of genetic material between parents occurs, genetic variation within populations that use parthenogenesis is limited. However, this process can result in quick repopulation of a devastated area in a short period of time especially if the population has been thinned such that mating encounters between males and females are rare.
A grant issued by the government, which gives the patent holder the right to exclude others from making, using or selling a patented invention for a certian term. In most countries, the term begins on the date on which the patent issues ends and 20 year from the date on which the application for the patent was filed. Patents are granted on inventions which meet the requirements of novelty, non-obviousness, and utility. A patent holder cannot use a patented invention dominated by the patent of another, absent a license or cross-license.
See: polymerase chain reaction.
Two or more amino acids chained together by a bond called "peptide bond". A protein is a long chain of amino acids joined together in this way, and therefore is sometimes referred to as a "polypeptide". Some proteins contain more than one polypeptide chain.
A substance that kills harnful organisms (for example, an insecticide or fungicide).
A trait which appears to be identical to a genetic trait, but which is caused by non-genetic factors.
A set of observable physical characteristics of an individual organism. A single characteristic can be referred to as a "trait", although a single trait is sometimes also called a phenotype. For example, blond hair could be called a trait or a phenotype, as could obesity. A phenotype can be the result of many factors, including an individual's genotype, environment and lifestyle, and the interactions among these factors - the observed manifestation of a genotype. The phenotype may be expressed physically, biochemically, or physiologically.
A map of the locations of identifiable landmarks on DNA (e.g., restriction enzyme cutting sites, genes), regardless of inheritance. Distance is measured in base pairs. For the human genome, the lowest-resolution physical map is the banding patterns on the 24 different chromosomes; the highest-resolution map would be the complete nucleotide sequence of the chromosomes.
A structure composed of DNA that is separate from the cell's genome. In bacteria, plasmids confer a variety of traits and can be exchanged between individuals - even those of different species. Plasmids can be manipulated in the laboratory to deliver specific genetic sequences into a cell.
A single nucleotide on a chromosome.
Pertaining to a phenotype that results from interactions among the products of two or more genes with alternative alleles.
A method for creating millions of copies of a particular segment of DNA. If a scientist needs to detect the presence of a very small amount of a particular DNA sequence, PCR can be used to amplify the amount of that sequence until there are enough copies available to be detected.
|presidency of the
(rotation of Presidency)
The Presidency of the Union is held in turn on a six-monthly basis by each Member State. A stint in the Presidency is a duty and a contribution that each Member State makes to the proper functioning of the Community institutions. At present, a Member State holds the Presidency every seven and a half years.
|President of the
The Treaty of Amsterdam strengthens the role and position of the Commission President. The governments of the Member States designate the person they intend to appoint as President by common accord - a choice which then has to be approved by the European Parliament.
The governments then designate the persons they intend to appoint as Members of the Commission, in agreement with the new President. The President lays down the broad policy lines to be followed by the Commission in its work. He also decides on the allocation of portfolios among the Commissioners and any reshuffling of portfolios during the Commission's term of office.
In a declaration on the organisation and functioning of the Commission annexed to the EC Treaty, the Intergovernmental Conference recommended that, for the sake of consistency, responsibility for external relations be assigned to a Vice-President (at present it is divided between several Members of the Commission).
Cell or organism lacking a membrane-bound, structural discrete nucleus and other subcellular compartments. Bacteria are prokaryotes. Compare: eukaryote. See: chromosomes.
A biological molecule which consists of many amino acids chained together by peptide bonds. The sequence of amino acids in a protein is determined by the sequence of nucleotides in a DNA molecule. As the chain of amino acids is being synthesized, it is also folded into higher order structures shaped, for example, like helixes or like flat sheets. Proteins are required for the structure, function and regulation of cells, tissues and organs in the body.
Public health is covered by Article 152 of the EC Treaty (former Article 129), which was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht. This article states that Community action is to focus on the prevention of illnesses, including drug addiction, by promoting research into their causes and their transmission, as well as health information and education.
Under Article 152 action towards these ends may involve Community measures, complementing action by the Member States. But the main approach should be to encourage cooperation between the Member States, in line with the subsidiarity principle.
The result of a crossover in a doubly heterozygous parent such that alleles at two loci that were present on opposite homologs are brought together on the same homolog. The term is used to describe the chromosome as well as the animal in which it is present.
Recombinant DNA is produced when genetic information from more than one organism is recombined in a laboratory process into a hybrid molecule.
The representation of the genetic distance separating non-allelic gene loci in a linkage structure or the arrangement of the mutational sites of a particular gene, by utilising the frequency of genetic recombination via crossing-over between genes and within genes.
In farming, an area of land near to Genetically Modified (GM) crops, kept free of GM plants where similar non-GM crops are grown, often without pesticides, to allow the development of a pest population.
A gene which controls the protein-synthesizing activity of other genes.
A relative risk (r.r.) quantifies how many times more or less likely the disease is in "exposed" people compared to "unexposed" people. Traditionally, exposure has been considered in terms of environmental agents; but in genetic studies, exposure can represent the underlying genotype or allele. A null value of 1.0 indicates that the disease is equally likely in exposed and unexposed people; a value greater than 1.0 indicates that the disease is more likely in the exposed people; and a value less than 1.0 suggests that the disease is more likely in the unexposed people. The relative risk is calculated from prospective data only.
European research and development policy is based on provisions in the three founding treaties (ECSC, Euratom and Title XVIII of the EC Treaty). The Single European Act introduced the concept of technology into Community law and the EU Treaty then developed the Community's objectives in this field. Supporting the competitiveness of European industry and promoting research to help it face technological challenges are the Community's priorities.
The coordination of initiatives in research and development within the Community is based on various instruments:
The multiannual framework programme is adopted under the codecision procedure. Unanimity in the Council is no longer required following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. The specific programmes are always adopted by the Council by a qualified majority on a Commission proposal, after consulting the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
The development of a characteristic within an organism (e.g. an insect) whereby it becomes able to protect itself from the effects of a particular substance (e.g. an insecticide).
Degree of molecular detail on a physical map of DNA, ranging from low to high.
A virus that has RNA as its genetic material. When introduced into a host cell, it is used as a template to produce viral DNA, which leads to the formation of more identical viruses.
A molecule that translates the instructions encoded in DNA to build proteins.
A part of a cell that builds proteins by linking amino acids according to the sequence on a strand of messenger RNA.
|right of initiative
So that it can play its role as guardian of the Treaties and defender of the general interest the Commission has been given a right of initiative which empowers and requires it to make proposals on the matters contained in the Treaty, either because the Treaty expressly so provides or because the Commission considers it necessary.
The Council and the European Parliament may also ask the Commission to put forward a proposal if they consider it necessary.
The right of initiative is regarded as a basic element in the institutional balance of the Community.
Rural development has become the second pillar of the agricultural policy. With its links to agricultural activities and conversion, it is concerned in particular with:
The principle that the two partners of a chromosome pair are separated during meiosis and distributed randomly to the germ cells. Each germ cell has an equal chance of receiving either chromosome.
A gene whose expression allows one to identify cells that have been tranformed or transfected with a vector containing the marker gene.
Transferring pollen from the stamens withing a flower to the stigma of the same flower so that it produces seeds containing the same genetic information as the parent.
The order of nucleotides in a DNA or RNA molecule, or the order of amino acids in a protein. See: full gene sequence and partial gene sequence.
Short (200 - 500 base pairs) DNA sequence that has a single occurrence in the human genome and whose location and base sequence are known. Detectable by polymerase chain reaction, STSs are useful for localizing and orienting the mapping and sequence data reported from many different laboratories and serve as landmarks on the developing physical map of the human genome. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) are STSs derived from cDNAs.
Determining the order of nucleotides in a DNA or RNA molecule, or determining the order of amino acids in a protein.
|See: monogenic disorder.|
A somatic cell is any cell of the body except for germ cells (sperm cells and egg cells) and their precursors.
A genetic type within an organism.
The distribution of two segregating alleles at a single locus across a group of animal samples used for analysis in a linkage study. Used in the context of backcross data and data obtained from RI strains.
The subsidiarity principle is intended to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made as to whether action at Community level is justified in the light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level. Specifically, it is the principle whereby the Union does not take action (except in the areas which fall within its exclusive competence) unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level. It is closely bound up with the principles of proportionality and necessity, which require that any action by the Union should not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty.
Each year the European Commission produces a report ("Better lawmaking") for the European Council and the European Parliament which is devoted mainly to the application of the subsidiarity principle.
A principle inherent in the safety assessment process that compares a genetically modified food with a conventional non-modified food with a long history of safe use. If the modified food has essentially all the characteristics of the non-modified food with respect to food and feed value it is said to be substantially equivalent.
A gene which helps to reverse the effects of damage to an individual's genetic material, typically effects which might lead to uncontrolled cell growth (as would occur in cancer). A suppressor gene may, for example, code for a protein which checks genes for misspellings, and/or which triggers a cell's self-destruction if too many genetic mutations have accumulated.
Form of agriculture, whereby the farmer is able to increase or maintain crop yields long term, whilst conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.
The process of transferring discoveries made by basic research institutions to the commercial sector, to be developed into useful products and services.
A process where individual cells (or clumps) of plant or animal origin are grown artificially.
The range of an environmental factor (also pathogens and pests) within which an organism or a population can survive.
Cells that have the ability to develop into any of the many different cell types which make up multicellular organisms. Embryos are composed of large numbers of totipotent cells which decline in number as development proceeds and cell specialisation begins to occur. Adults have a much more limited ability to produce totipotent cells than embryos. do. Organisms such as humans retain a complete set of genetic information in all adult body cells yet only a small fraction of an adult's cells have the ability to develop into multiple cell types. Recent research has shown that differentiated adult cells can be treated such that they become totipotent. Such totipotent or "stem cells" offer the possibility of a number of therapeutic uses such as repairing heart muscle after a heart attack or brain function after a stroke. Plant cells tend to retain much more of a capability of becoming totipotent - even in mature plants - than those of animals do.
A new scientific subdiscipline that combines the emerging technologies of genomics and bioinformatics to identify and characterize mechanisms of action of known and suspected toxicants. Currently, the premier toxicogenomic tools are the DNA microarray and the DNA chip, which are used for the simultaneous monitoring of expression levels of hundreds to thousands of genes.
A poison, usually originating in a plant or micro-organism.
A distinguising characteristic or quality of an organism.
The process during which the information in a length of DNA is used to construct an mRNA molecule.
RNA molecules which bond with amino acids nd transfer them to ribosomes, where protein synthesis is completed.
A process by which the genetic material carried by an individual cell is altered by incorporation of exogenous DNA into its genome.
An organism whose genome has been altered by the inclusion of foreign genetic material. This foreign genetic material may be derived from other individuals of the same species or from wholly different species. Genetic material may also be of an artificial nature. Foreign genetic information can be added to the organism during its early development and incorporated in cells of the entire organism. As an example, mice embryos have been given the gene for rat growth hormone allowing mice to grow into large adults. Genetic information can also be added later in development of selected portions of the organism. As an example, experimental genetic therapy to treat cystic fibrosis involves selective addition of genes responsible for lung function and is administered directly to the lung tissue of children and adults. Transgenic organisms have been produced that provide enhanced agricultural and pharmaceutical products. Insect resistant crops and cows that produce human hormones in their milk are just two examples.
A preparation that contains an antigen made up of disease-causing oganisms in a dead or weakened state. It is used to boost immunity against the given diseases, and can be created using the recombinant DNA process.
A group of organisms within a species, having similar characteristics but not distinct enough to be a separate species.
1) An organism which serves to transfer a disease-causing organism (pathogen) from one organism to another.
2) A mechanism whereby foreign gene(s) are moved into an organism and inserted into that organism's genome. Retroviruses such as HIV serve as vectors by inserting genetic information (DNA) into the genome of human cells. Bacteria can serve as vectors in plant populations.
Viruses consist of a piece of nucleic acid covered by protein. Viruses can only reproduce by infecting a cell and using the cell's mechanisms for self-replication. They can cause disease; modified viruses can also be used as a tool in gene therapy to introduce new DNA into cell's genome.
In farming, a crop plant of one type that grows spontaneously within subsequent crops of a different type.
Tissue or organs from an individual of one species transplanted into or grafted into an organism of another species, genus, or family. A common example is the use of pig heart valves in humans.
Transplantation of tissue or organs between organisms of different species, genus, or family. A common example is the use of pig heart valves in humans.
A vector used to clone DNA fragments (up to 400 kb); it is constructed from the telomeric, centromeric and replication origin sequences needed for replication in yeast cells. Compare cloning vector.
A cell produced by the fusion of a female gamete (egg cell or ovum) with a male
gamete (sperm cell or pollen grain). The joining of a sperm and egg cell is called
fertilisation. Zygotes are diploid and undergo cell division to become an embryo.