An A-Z of keywords and phrases, all of which are relevant to the post-16 biology curriculum.
Named after the bone marrow, where immature B cells are produced. Types include plasma B cells and memory B cells. A type of lymphocyte.
A course of study that leads to a qualification such as a BSc (Bachelor of Science) or BA (Bachelor of Arts). Generally, these take three to four years’ full-time study, although medicine degrees can take six years. Some universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, award a BA regardless of the subject studied.
One of the three domains of life, bacteria are single-celled prokaryotic organisms.
A diet that contains a range of foods with nutrients in the correct proportions to help someone be healthy, including having a healthy weight.
Describes the side of the cell in relation to its position in the body; the basal membrane faces away from the outside surface of the body or the lumen of internal cavities.
Two DNA bases paired up, like rungs on a ladder, which produces the double helix structure.
Cells involved in allergic and inflammatory responses. Basophils release histamine like mast cells, but unlike mast cells they circulate in the blood. A type of white blood cell.
A type of adipose (fat) tissue. Beige fat cells are brown fat cells that can emerge in ordinary white fat in response to certain triggers, like extreme cold.
A method of prokaryotic asexual reproduction that produces two identical cells.
Databases of genetic, clinical, environmental and lifestyle information on individuals, along with corresponding clinical specimens.
The diversity of life. The term usually refers to the number of different species in a given area, but can also refer to genetic diversity. An important concept for ecologists.
The use of engineering techniques to solve medical problems. An example would be the design and production of artificial limbs.
A substance produced from plant material that is used as a fuel. Examples include biodiesel and bioethanol. Biofuels are renewable sources of energy.
A sign that provides evidence of past or present life. This could be an element (such as carbon), a fossil, a molecular structure or biomarker, or a specific composition or compound that suggests a biological process is at work.
A smaller company researching new drugs, often using new technologies (often referred to as ‘biotech’).
Using two legs (or limbs) to walk.
A condition characterised by periods of elevated mood and periods of depression.
A semi-permeable membrane separating the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid of the brain.
Body mass index. A measure used to determine whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese, calculated by dividing body mass (kg) by height squared (m2). Healthy BMI values range from 18.5 to 25 kg/m2.
Body fat (or adipose tissue) is a mass of fat cells in a thick layer under the skin. There are two types of fat: essential fat, which is vital for the general functioning of the body, and storage fat, which is used to release energy. Excess storage fat is also used by hibernating and migrating animals.
A type of adipose (fat) tissue, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT). It is made up of cells full of mitochondria and is metabolically active, unlike white fat. The brown colour comes from iron that is attached to proteins in the mitochondria. It develops before we are born, in specific regions of the body such as between our shoulder blades.