- specialised haploid cell (sometimes called a sex cell) whose nucleus and
often cytoplasm fuses with that of another gamete in the process of
fertilisation field. [CUB]
- - the functional unit of heredity; the part of the DNA molecule that
encodes a single enzyme or structural protein unit.
- - the unit of heredity transmitted from generation to generation during
sexual or asexual reproduction. More generally, the term 'gene' may
be used in relation to the transmission and inheritance of particular
identifiable traits. [FAO]
- - the units of heredity transmitted from generation to generation. Each
gene is a segment of nucleic acid carried in the DNA encoded for a
specific protein. More generally, the term 'gene' may be used in relation
to the transmission and inheritance of particular identifiable traits. The
basic unit of heredity, a gene is an ordered sequence of nucleotide bases
comprising a segment of DNA. A gene contains the sequence of DNA which
encodes one polypeptide chain. The sum of an organism's genes is known as
its genome. [CUB]
- The variant forms of each gene are termed alleles.
- a storage facility where germplasm is stored in the form of seeds,
pollen, embryos, semen, pollen, or in vitro culture, or in cryogenic
storage, or, in the case of a field gene bank, as plants growing in the
- gene flow
- exchange of genetic traits between populations by movement of
individuals, gametes or spores.
- gene mapping
- determination of the relative positions of genes on a DNA molecule
(chromosome or plasmid) and of the distance, in linkage units or physical
units, between them. [CUB]
- gene pool
- the total amount of genetic material within a freely interbreeding population at a given time.
- copies of well-known drugs for which patent protection has expired.
Companies specialising in generics invest little on research, or only on
research in manufacturing procedures. The average price of a generic is 30
per cent below that for patented products. [CUB]
- genetic distance
- a measure of the genetic similarity between any pair of populations.
Such distance may be based on phenotypic traits, allele frequencies or DNA
sequences. For example, genetic distance between two populations having
the same allele frequencies at a particular locus, and based solely on
that locus, is zero. The distance for one locus is maximum when the two
populations are fixed for different alleles. When allele frequencies are
estimated for many loci, the genetic distance is obtained by averaging
over these loci. [FAO]
- genetic distancing
- the collection of the data on phenotypic traits, marker allele
frequencies or DNA sequences for two or more populations, and estimation
of the genetic distances between each pair of populations. From these
distances, the best representation of the relationships among all the
populations may be obtained. [FAO]
- genetic diversity
- - the diversity of genes within and among populations of a species. This
is the lowest level of biological diversity.
- variation in the genetic composition of individuals within or among
species; the heritable genetic variation within and among populations.
- genetic drift
- random gene frequency changes in a small population due to chance alone.
- genetic engineering
- - the identification of genes coding for useful traits and their
introduction into other species of plants and animals ('transgenic species').
Genetic engineering offers the possibility of correcting genetic defects
at source, or introducing new, desirable genetic characteristics that will
stay with the subject and may be passed on to its successors.
- manipulation of DNA to form a hybrid molecule, a new combination of
non-homologous DNA (so-called recombinant DNA). The technique allows the
bypassing of all the biological constraints to genetic exchange and mixing
and may even permit the combination of genes from widely differing species.
Genetic engineering developed in the early 1970s. [CUB]
- genetic erosion
- loss of genetic diversity between and within populations of the same
species over time; or reduction of the genetic basis of a species due to
human intervention, environmental changes, etc.
- genetic marker
- a gene with a clear, unambiguous phenotype used in genetic analysis to
identify individuals that carry it or other linked genes. May act as a
probe to mark a nucleus, chromosome or locus. [CUB]
- genetic material
- any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing
functional units of heredity. [CBD]
- genetic resources
- - genetic material of plants, animals or micro-organisms, including
modern cultivars and breeds, primitive varieties and breeds, landraces and
wild/weedy relatives of crop plants or domesticated animals, of value as a
resource for future generations of humanity. [GBA]
- genetic material of actual or potential value. [CUB]
- genetically modified organism (GMO)
- the modification of the genetic characteristics of a micro-organism,
plant or animal by inserting a modified gene or a gene from another
variety or species. GMOs may be micro-organisms designed for use as
biopesticides or seeds that have been altered genetically to give a plant
better disease resistance or growth. [CUB]
- - all the genes of a particular organism or species.
- - the complete set of genes and non-coding sequences present in each
cell of an organism, or the genes in a complete haploid set of chromosomes
of a particular organism. [FAO]
- the genetic endowment of an organism. When expressed, this will result
in the observable characteristics or phenotype. [CUB]
- the study of genomes including genome mapping, gene sequencing and gene
function. The use of this information in the development of therapeutics.
- the entire genetic constitution of an organism, or the genetic
composition at a specific gene locus or set of loci.
- germ cell
- a small organic structure or cell from which a new organism may develop.
- - genetic material, especially its specific molecular and chemical
constitution, that comprises the physical basis of the inherited qualities
of an organism.
- the genetic material which forms the physical basis ofheredity and which
is transmitted from one generation to the next by means of germ cells. [CUB]
- Global Environment Facility (GEF)
- the multi-billion-dollar GEF was established by the World Bank, UNDP and
UNEP in 1990. It operates the Convention's 'financial mechanism' on an
interim basis and funds developing-country projects that have global
biodiversity benefits. [CUB]
- Global Partnership on Biodiversity
- CBD Decision VII/26 (3) requests the Executive Secretary to examine
options for a flexible framework between all relevant actors, such as a
Global Partnership on Biodiversity (GPBio), in order to enhance
implementation through improved cooperation, and to report to COP-8 on
possible ways forward. The GPBio could act as an inclusive partnership to
assure ownership and effective coordination between all institutions that
contribute to the implementation of biodiversity commitments. On this
basis the partnership would involve the so-called biodiversity cluster (CBD,
and other instruments and bodies essential for the implementation of the
CBD and the achievement of the 2010 targets (UNCCD,
World Bank, IUCN,
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- government or industry set standards for the production of safe,
efficacious, and high-quality ingredients and products. [CUB]
- green petroleum
- bioprospecting seen as the means to a new 'green petroleum', capable of
bringing wealth to the gene-rich, but financially poor countries of the
South (ref.: K. ten Kate, 1995. Biopiracy or Green Petroleum?
Expectations & Best Practice in Bioprospecting.
- Overseas Development Administration, Environment Policy Department,
- greenhouse gases (GHGs)
- gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that tend to trap heat
radiating from the Earth's surface, thus causing warming in the lower
The major GHGs causing climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O).
The Kyoto Protocol also addresses hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),
perfluorocarbons (PFCs), ans sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
- Group of 77 and China
- the G-77 was founded in 1964 in the context of the UN Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and now functions throughout the UN system,
comprising some 132 (in 1999) developing country members.
Developing countries generally work through the Group of 77 and China to
establish common negotiating positions on issues of interest to them, such
as finance and technology transfer. However, because the G-77 and China is
a diverse group with different interests, individual developing countries
also intervene in debates, as do groups within the G-77, such as the
African Group and AOSIS.
- a group of species found in the same place that share the same food
resource. Example: the lizard species of a sand dune that feed on insects.
- Genetic Use Restriction Technologies;
- see Terminator technology and Traitor technology
Back to GLOSSARY title page
(Convention on Biological Diversity)
© Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism, 2001.
On the Internet since 7 October 1996.