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Every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas.
~Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (1715-1780)

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Click one of the letters above to be taken to a page of all terms beginning with that letter.

Term Definition
ecological footprint

a measure of the total human demand on Earth's ecosystems.

ecotoxicity studies

measure the effects of chemicals on fish, wildlife, plants, and other wild organisms.

EPA’s ecotoxicity database

embryo rescue

techniques dating back to the early 1900s enabling embryos incapable of developing into viable seeds to be cultured and grown into plants. Embryo rescue helps breeders acquire interspecific and intergeneric hybrids (hybrids between parents of different species or genera, respectively). See also classical breeding.


Brand buttona broad philosophy and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation.


a trademarked line of pigs genetically engineered so that their urine and feces contain much less phosphorus than usual. (A single bacterial gene was introduced, which is expressed only in the pig's salivary gland.) That could be good for watersheds, since phosphorous causes algal blooms that deplete water oxygen levels, creating dead zones. It could also reduce feed costs for farmers, since there's no need to supplement the enviropig's diet with mineral phosphate or phytase (an enzyme that helps break down the phosphorous in grain). Some enviropig opponents would prefer a reduction in the scale of industrial hog production to earth-friendly hog poop.


the development of a whole plant or animal from a single-celled zygote. Cells differentiate to become part of distinct organs (leaves and roots, for example) by activating some genes while inhibiting others.


NIH epigenetics smallthe study of heritable changes caused by the activation and inhibition of an organism's genes (without altering its DNA). Through biotech applications of epigenetics, the expression of specific genes already present in plants or algae can be activated or inhibited in order to enhance the production of biofuels, biopharmaceuticals, etc.

expression profiling

a functional genomics approach that allows researchers to get an overview of phenotype by checking out where and when transcripts, proteins, and metabolites are expressed.

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