Glossary. □ Entries printed in red are IB command terms. □ Entries are aides-mémoire, rather than of biology, particularly of microorganisms, enzymology. This glossary of biology terms is a list of definitions of fundamental terms and concepts of biology, its sub-disciplines, and related fields. For more specific definitions from other glossaries related to biology, see Glossary of ecology, Glossary of botany, Glossary of genetics, and Glossary of speciation. This is a completely free and open dictionary with over 60, biology terms. It uses the wiki concept, so that anyone can make a contribution.


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Search term Glossary Boldfaced terms within a definition are also defined in this glossary. Alternative names for main entries are in italics.

Figures glossary biology tables that illustrate defined glossary biology are noted in parentheses. A acetyl CoA Small, water-soluble metabolite comprising an acetyl group linked to coenzyme A CoA ; formed during oxidation of pyruvate, fatty acids, and amino acids.

Its acetyl group is transferred to citrate in glossary biology citric acid cycle. Figure acetylcholine ACh Neurotransmitter that functions at vertebrate neuromuscular junctions and at various neuron-neuron synapses in the brain and peripheral nervous system.

General Biology/Glossary

The carboxyl and glossary biology groups are the primary acidic groups in biological molecules. The monomeric globular form G actin polymerizes to form actin filaments F actin.


In muscle cells, F actin interacts with myosin during contraction. Action potentials, glossary biology nerve impulses, allow long-distance signaling in the nervous system.

Figure activation energy The input of energy required to overcome the barrier to initiate a chemical reaction. By reducing the activation energy, an enzyme glossary biology the rate of a reaction.

Glossary of Biological Terms

Figure active site Region of an enzyme molecule glossary biology the substrate binds and undergoes a catalyzed reaction. Energy is provided by the coupled hydrolysis of ATP or the cotransport of another molecule down its electrochemical gradient.

Binding of certain ligands to their cell-surface receptors leads to activation of adenylyl cyclase and a rise in intracellular cAMP.

Figure aerobic Referring to a cell, organism, glossary biology metabolic process that utilizes O2 or that can grow in the presence of O2.

Glossary - Molecular Cell Biology - NCBI Bookshelf

Allosteric regulation is particularly prevalent glossary biology multisubunit enzymes. Figure amino acid An organic compound containing at least one amino group and glossary biology carboxyl group.

Figure amphipathic Referring to a molecule or structure that has both a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic part. Figure antibody A protein that interacts with a particular site epitope on an antigen and facilitates clearance of that antigen by various mechanisms.

Glossary of biology

During protein synthesis, base pairing between a codon and anticodon aligns the tRNA carrying the corresponding amino acid for addition to the growing peptide chain.

Figure apoptosis Regulated glossary biology leading to cell death via a series of well-defined morphological changes; also called programmed cell death.


Figure archaea Class of prokaryotes that constitutes glossary biology of the three distinct evolutionary lineages of modern-day organisms; also called archaebacteria and archaeans. These prokaryotes are in some respects more similar to eukaryotes than to the so-called true bacteria eubacteria.

Figure association constant Ka See equilibrium constant. Figure asymmetric carbon atom A carbon atom bonded to four different atoms; also called chiral carbon atom.


The bonds can be arranged in two different ways producing stereoisomers that are mirror images of glossary biology other. Figure ATP adenosine 5-triphosphate A nucleotide that is the most important molecule for capturing and transferring free energy in cells.

Complete List of Biology Terms | Biology Dictionary

Figure ATP synthase Multimeric protein complex bound to inner mitochondrial membranes, thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts, and the bacterial plasma membrane glossary biology catalyzes synthesis of ATP during oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis ; also called F0F1 complex.

Figure autoradiography Technique for visualizing radioactive molecules in a sample e. The exposed film is called an autoradiogram or autoradiograph. Figure autosome Any chromosome other than a sex chromosome. Figure axoneme Bundle of microtubules and associated proteins present in cilia and flagella and responsible for their movement.

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