Glossary try the best to avoid the use of medical terms that could make it more difficult to understand the information on this website. Still, there are a number of terms that can't be avoided and that are useful to know because they are so often used by the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with whom you might speak. The list below includes the terms used on for which we have provided definitions.

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Term Definition

Breast milk production that occurs without pregnancy


Type of substance found on the surface of cells, particularly in the brain, that is important in cell-to-cell communication


Basic unit of genetic material; in humans, a segment of DNA on a chromosome that usually codes for the production of a specific protein

Gene expression

Properties exhibited by an organism due to genes present in cells

Gene Sequence

Section of genetic code; particular arrangement of nucleotides along a segment of DNA on a chromosome

Genetic Counseling

Process of determining the risk of a particular genetic disorder occurring within a family and providing information and advice based on that determination

The haploid set of chromosomes in a gamete or microorganism or in each cell of a multicellular organism.
  • the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism.
Synonyms - Genomes

The total of a person's genetic information


Specific combination of genes within a cell or cells

Germ cell

Reproductive cell that develops into a sperm in males and an egg in females; germ cells contain one-half of the normal complement of the 46 chromosomes from each parent.


Period of development of a fetus between the time an egg is fertilized and birth


A condition in children resulting from excess growth hormone characterized by an abnormal growth of the long bones and increased size of feet and hands


Collective term for most blood proteins other than albumin


Plural: glomeruli; one of a number of specialized structures in the kidney, composed of loops of specialized capillaries that filter blood, allowing small substances to pass through towards the urine but preventing loss of larger proteins and blood cells.


The principal storage form of glucose found primarily in the liver and the muscles.