Biotechnology Dictionary

If you are in the business of biotech, the alphabet soup of similar-sounding or re-purposed terms can be quite confusing. Principle Point offers our biotech and medical dictionary of more than 1,000 terms, which will be updated periodically as needed. Please let us know if you think we should add a term or if an existing definition needs clarification.


Encapsidation is the process of a virus enclosing its nucleic acid in a capsid (coat protein).


Enzymes are proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions and play a role in metabolic pathways.

Escherichia coli

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium present in the human colon and is commonly used in laboratory research as a cellular model or as a host for molecular cloning.

Ethidium bromide

Ethidium bromide is a fluorescent dye commonly used for staining DNA and RNA.


Eukaryotes are organisms with nucleated cells and other membrane-bound vesicles.  Such organisms include protists, fungi, plants and animals but do not include bacteria, viruses, or blue-green algae.


An exon is a DNA sequence that directly codes for a protein sequence, as opposed to an intron, which is not translated.


In biology, to express a gene is to translate it's DNA sequence into a molecular product or trait.

Expression library

An expression library is a cloning vehicle whereby DNA fragments from a cell are inserted into individual expression vectors so that each gene may be analyzed separately.

Flanking region

In molecular biology, a flanking region is the DNA sequence extending upstream or downstream from a specific locus or gene.


A fungicide is an chemical agent that kills fungi.


A fungus belongs to a group of eukaryotic microorganism that contain chitin.  The biological kingdom, Fungi, includes yeasts, molds and mushrooms.

Fusion gene

A fusion gene is a hybrid of conjoined sequences from two genes that produces a new or differently regulated protein.


A gamete is a haploid reproductive cell (i.e., egg or sperm) containing a single copy of each chromosome.


GEM's are genetically engineered microorganisms.


A gene is a DNA sequence on a chromosome that encodes a certain protein or genetic regulator. Genes are the basic unit of heredity.

Gene amplification

Gene amplification can mean either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) manipulation of a genetic sequence, or the biological process by which a gene is duplicated in response to stimuli, such as the mechanism by which proto-oncogenes are activated in malignant cells.

Gene cloning

Gene cloning is the laboratory process of making copies of a DNA sequence into a controllable vector, typically in a bacteria cell for further manipulation.

Gene expression

Gene expression is the biological process of turning on a gene, or synthesizing a protein from a DNA coding sequences.

Gene flow

Gene flow is the exchange of genes between different, related populations.

Gene frequency

Gene frequency is the percentage of a genetic allele within a population.


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