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The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine


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A circular, double-stranded unit of DNA that replicates within a cell independently of the chromosomal DNA. Plasmids are most often found in bacteria and are used in recombinant DNA research to transfer genes between cells.
1a. Extremely infectious, malignant, or poisonous. Used of a disease or toxin. b. Capable of causing disease by breaking down protective mechanisms of the host. Used of a pathogen. 2. Bitterly hostile or antagonistic; hateful: virulent criticism. See synonyms at poisonous. 3. Intensely irritating, obnoxious, or harsh.
1. Of a kind and gentle disposition. 2. Showing gentleness and mildness. See synonyms at kind1. 3. Tending to exert a beneficial influence; favorable: a policy with benign consequences for the economy. See synonyms at favorable. 4. Having little or no detrimental effect; harmless: a chemical additive that is environmentally benign. 5. Medicine Of no danger to health; not recurrent or progressive; not malignant: a benign tumor.
An agent that causes disease, especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium or fungus.
A physiologically active amine, C5H9N3, found in plant and animal tissue and released from mast cells as part of an allergic reaction in humans. It stimulates gastric secretion and causes dilation of capillaries, constriction of bronchial smooth muscle, and decreased blood pressure
A physiologically active amine, C5H9N3, found in plant and animal tissue and released from mast cells as part of an allergic reaction in humans. It stimulates gastric secretion and causes dilation of capillaries, constriction of bronchial smooth muscle, and decreased blood pressure
A cell, such as a white blood cell, that engulfs and absorbs waste material, harmful microorganisms, or other foreign bodies in the bloodstream and tissues.
1. The biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts. 2. All the functions of a living organism or any of its parts
Inflected forms: pl. pa·thol·o·gies
1. The scientific study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences. Also called pathobiology. 2. The anatomic or functional manifestations of a disease: the pathology of cancer. 3. A departure or deviation from a normal condition: “Neighborhoods plagued by a self-perpetuating pathology of joblessness, welfare dependency, crime” (Time).
Inflected forms: pl. leth·ar·gies
1. A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy. 2. A state of unconsciousness resembling deep sleep.
1. A vague feeling of bodily discomfort, as at the beginning of an illness. 2. A general sense of depression or unease: “One year after the crash, the markets remain mired in a deep malaise” (New York Times).
A form of arthritis, occurring mainly in older persons, that is characterized by chronic degeneration of the cartilage of the joints. Also called degenerative joint disease.
Of, near, or situated in the part of the back and sides between the lowest ribs and the pelvis.
Any of the bones of the metacarpus
A condition characterized by pain and numbing or tingling sensations in the hand and caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel at the wrist.
Inflected forms: pl. hy·per·tro·phies
A nontumorous enlargement of an organ or a tissue as a result of an increase in the size rather than the number of constituent cells: muscle hypertrophy.
Inflected forms: pl. fas·ci·ae (fsh-, fsh-)
1. Anatomy A sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other soft structures of the body. 2. A broad and distinct band of color. 3. (also fsh-) Architecture A flat horizontal band or member between moldings, especially in a classical entablature. 4. (fsh) Chiefly British The dashboard of a motor vehicle
1. Similar or alike in such a way as to permit the drawing of an analogy. 2. Biology Similar in function but not in structure and evolutionary origin.
1. Similar or alike in such a way as to permit the drawing of an analogy. 2. Biology Similar in function but not in structure and evolutionary origin.
Any of a family of industrial compounds produced by chlorination of biphenyl, noted primarily as an environmental pollutant that accumulates in animal tissue with resultant pathogenic and teratogenic effects
1. Of, characterized by, involving, or relating to cognition: “Thinking in terms of dualisms is common in our cognitive culture” (Key Reporter). 2. Having a basis in or reducible to empirical factual knowledge.
1. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. 2. A strong fear, dislike, or aversion
Inflected forms: pl. stim·u·li (-l)
1. Something causing or regarded as causing a response. 2. An agent, action, or condition that elicits or accelerates a physiological or psychological activity or response. 3. Something that incites or rouses to action; an incentive: “Works which were in themselves poor have often proved a stimulus to the imagination” (W.H. Auden).
1. Physiology a. Of, relating to, or controlled by the autonomic nervous system. b. Occurring involuntarily; automatic: an autonomic reflex. 2. Resulting from internal stimuli; spontaneous.
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. e·ti·ol·o·gies
1a. The study of causes or origins. b. The branch of medicine that deals with the causes or origins of disease. 2a. Assignment of a cause, an origin, or a reason for something. b. The cause or origin of a disease or disorder as determined by medical diagnosis
1. To lead or move, as to a course of action, by influence or persuasion. See synonyms at persuade. 2. To bring about or stimulate the occurrence of; cause: a drug used to induce labor. 3. To infer by inductive reasoning. 4. Physics a. To produce (an electric current or a magnetic charge) by induction. b. To produce (radioactivity, for example) artificially by bombardment of a substance with neutrons, gamma rays, and other particles. 5. Biochemistry To initiate or increase the production of (an enzyme or other protein) at the level of genetic transcription. 6. Genetics To cause an increase in the transcription of the RNA of (a gene).
1. At, near, or on the kidneys. 2. Of or relating to the adrenal glands or their secretions
Any of numerous naturally occurring or synthetic fat-soluble organic compounds having as a basis 17 carbon atoms arranged in four rings and including the sterols and bile acids, adrenal and sex hormones, certain natural drugs such as digitalis compounds, and the precursors of certain vitamins
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To turn a matter over and over in the mind. 2. To chew cud.
TRANSITIVE VERB: To reflect on over and over again.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Of broad or liberal scope; comprehensive: “The 100-odd pages of formulas and constants are surely the most catholic to be found” (Scientific American). 2. Including or concerning all humankind; universal: “what was of catholic rather than national interest” (J.A. Froude). 3. Catholic a. Of or involving the Roman Catholic Church. b. Of or relating to the universal Christian church. c. Of or relating to the ancient undivided Christian church. d. Of or relating to those churches that have claimed to be representatives of the ancient undivided church.
NOUN: Catholic A member of a Catholic church, especially a Roman Catholic.
NOUN: 1. The state of being preoccupied; absorption of the attention or intellect. 2. Something that preoccupies or engrosses the mind: Money was their chief preoccupation. 3. Occupation of a place in advance; preoccupancy
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To cause to conform or agree; bring into harmony. 2. To grant, especially as being due or appropriate: accorded the President the proper deference. 3. To bestow upon: I accord you my blessing.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: To be in agreement, unity, or harmony. See synonyms at agree.
NOUN: 1. Agreement; harmony: act in accord with university policies. 2. A settlement or compromise of conflicting opinions. 3. A settlement of points at issue between nations. 4. Spontaneous or voluntary desire to take a certain action: The children returned on their own accord. He confessed of his own accord.
1a. A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions. b. The result of such a settlement. 2. Something that combines qualities or elements of different things: The incongruous design is a compromise between high tech and early American. 3. A concession to something detrimental or pejorative: a compromise of morality.
1. A secondary phenomenon that results from and accompanies another: “Exploitation of one social class or ethnic group by another [is] an epiphenomenon of real differences in power between social groups” (Harper's). 2. Pathology An additional condition or symptom in the course of a disease, not necessarily connected with the disease
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To resolve or settle (differences) by working with all the conflicting parties: mediate a labor-management dispute. 2. To bring about (a settlement, for example) by working with all the conflicting parties. 3. To effect or convey as an intermediate agent or mechanism.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To intervene between two or more disputants in order to bring about an agreement, a settlement, or a compromise. 2. To settle or reconcile differences. 3. To have a relation to two differing persons or things.
ADJECTIVE: (-t)1. Acting through, involving, or dependent on an intervening agency. 2. Being in a middle position.
A drug used to counteract the physiological effects of histamine production in allergic reactions and colds
1. The act or process of being altered or changed. 2. An alteration or change, as in nature, form, or quality. 3. Genetics a. A change of the DNA sequence within a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the parental type. b. The process by which such a change occurs in a chromosome, either through an alteration in the nucleotide sequence of the DNA coding for a gene or through a change in the physical arrangement of a chromosome. c. A mutant. 4. Linguistics The change that is caused in a sound by its assimilation to another sound, such as umlaut.
Having a harmful effect; injurious: the deleterious effects of smoking
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1a. To free from impurities; purify. b. To remove (impurities and other elements) by or as if by cleansing. 2. To rid of sin, guilt, or defilement. 3. Law To clear (a person) of a charge or an imputation. Often used with respect to contempt of court. 4a. To rid (a nation or political party, for example) of people considered undesirable. b. To get rid of (people considered undesirable). See synonyms at eliminate. 5. Medicine a. To cause evacuation of (the bowels). b. To induce evacuation of the bowels in (an individual).
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To become pure or clean. 2. Medicine To undergo or cause an emptying of the bowels.
NOUN: 1. The act or process of purging. 2. Something that purges, especially a medicinal purgative.
sickle cell anemia
A chronic, usually fatal anemia marked by sickle-shaped red blood cells, occurring almost exclusively in Black people of Africa or of African descent, and characterized by episodic pain in the joints, fever, leg ulcers, and jaundice. The disease occurs in individuals who are homozygous for a mutant hemoglobin gene. Also called sickle cell disease.
A pathological deficiency in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood, measured in unit volume concentrations of hemoglobin, red blood cell volume, or red blood cell number.
ADJECTIVE: Having the same alleles at a particular gene locus on homologous chromosomes.
An organism that has different alleles at a particular gene locus on homologous chromosomes.
An enzyme that catalyzes the removal of hydrogen from a substrate and the transfer of the hydrogen to an acceptor in an oxidation-reduction reaction.
An enzyme that catalyzes the removal of hydrogen from a substrate and the transfer of the hydrogen to an acceptor in an oxidation-reduction reaction.
ADJECTIVE: 1a. Of, relating to, or assisting digestion: peptic secretion. b. Induced by or associated with the action of digestive secretions: a peptic ulcer. 2. Of, relating to, or involving pepsin. 3. Capable of digesting.
NOUN: A digestive agent
The inactive precursor to pepsin, formed in cells of the mucous membrane of the stomach and converted to pepsin by autocatalysis in the presence of hydrochloric acid
ADJECTIVE: Counteracting or neutralizing acidity, especially of the stomach.
NOUN: A substance, such as magnesia or sodium bicarbonate, that neutralizes acid
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1a. To make (someone) inclined to something in advance: His good manners predispose people in his favor. See synonyms at incline. b. To make susceptible or liable: conditions that predispose miners to lung disease. 2. Archaic To settle or dispose of in advance.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: To provide an inclination or susceptibility: a genetic trait that predisposes to the development of cancer.
Growing old; aging.
NOUN: The scientific study of the biological, psychological, and sociological phenomena associated with old age and aging.
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. mor·bid·i·ties
1. The quality of being morbid; morbidness. 2. The rate of incidence of a disease.
Inflected forms: pl. mor·tal·i·ties
1. The quality or condition of being mortal. 2. Mortals considered as a group; the human race. 3. Death, especially of large numbers; heavy loss of life: the mortality wrought by an epidemic. 4. Death rate. 5. The rate of failure or loss: the high mortality among family-run farms.
The control by a single gene of several distinct and seemingly unrelated phenotypic effects.
NOUN: A disease marked by the loss of cognitive ability, generally over a period of 10 to 15 years, and associated with the development of abnormal tissues and protein deposits in the cerebral cortex.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Secreting internally. 2. Of or relating to endocrine glands or the hormones secreted by them.
NOUN: 1. The secretion of an endocrine gland; a hormone. 2. An endocrine gland.
NOUN: Any of various cytokines produced in acute and chronic inflammation that mobilize and activate white blood cells.
1. A disturbance of uric-acid metabolism occurring chiefly in males, characterized by painful inflammation of the joints, especially of the feet and hands, and arthritic attacks resulting from elevated levels of uric acid in the blood and the deposition of urate crystals around the joints. The condition can become chronic and result in deformity. 2. A large blob or clot: “and makes it bleed great gouts of blood” (Oscar Wilde).
1. The doctrines or practices of radicals. 2. The quality of being radical.
uric acid
NOUN: A semisolid compound, C5H4N4O3, that is a nitrogenous end product of protein and purine metabolism and is the chief nitrogenous component of the urine in birds, terrestrial reptiles, and insects.
NOUN: 1a. The clear, yellowish fluid portion of blood, lymph, or intramuscular fluid in which cells are suspended. It differs from serum in that it contains fibrin and other soluble clotting elements. b. Blood plasma. 2. Medicine Cell-free, sterilized blood plasma, used in transfusions. 3. Protoplasm or cytoplasm. 4. The fluid portion of milk from which the curd has been separated by coagulation; whey. 5. Physics An electrically neutral, highly ionized gas composed of ions, electrons, and neutral particles. It is a phase of matter distinct from solids, liquids, and normal gases.
NOUN: A white, crystalline oxidation product, C4H6N4O3, of uric acid that is the metabolic end product of vertebrate purine oxidation and is used medicinally to promote tissue growth.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Having or exhibiting healing powers: a therapeutic agent; therapeutic exercises. 2. Of or relating to therapeutics.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Projecting outward or upward from a line or surface; protuberant. 2. Immediately noticeable; conspicuous. See synonyms at noticeable. 3. Widely known; eminent.
ADJECTIVE: Of, relating to, or determined by polygenes: polygenic inheritance.
NOUN: 1. A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view: “We have seen too much defeatism, too much pessimism, too much of a negative approach” (Margo Jones). 2. The doctrine or belief that this is the worst of all possible worlds and that all things ultimately tend toward evil. 3. The doctrine or belief that the evil in the world outweighs the good.
NOUN: 1. Heated, often violent dissension; bitter conflict. See synonyms at discord. 2. A struggle, fight, or quarrel. 3. Contention or competition between rivals. 4. Archaic Earnest endeavor or striving.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Of or relating to phylogeny or phylogenetics. 2. Relating to or based on evolutionary development or history: a phylogenetic classification of species.
NOUN: (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A deficiency disease resulting from a lack of vitamin D or calcium and from insufficient exposure to sunlight, characterized by defective bone growth and occurring chiefly in children. Also called rachitis.
ADJECTIVE: Feeding on fruit; fruit-eating.
NOUN: 1. An ample amount or quantity; an abundance: a region blessed with a plenitude of natural resources. 2. The condition of being full, ample, or complete.
NOUN: 1. The chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized. 2. The processing of a specific substance within the living body: water metabolism; iodine metabolism.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: o·vu·lat·ed, o·vu·lat·ing, o·vu·lates
To produce ova; discharge eggs from the ovary.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Having different alleles at one or more corresponding chromosomal loci. 2. Of or relating to a heterozygote.
NOUN: abbr. PKU A genetic disorder in which the body lacks the enzyme necessary to metabolize phenylalanine to tyrosine. Left untreated, the disorder can cause brain damage and progressive mental retardation as a result of the accumulation of phenylalanine and its breakdown products.
NOUN: 1. A disaccharide, C12H22O11, found in milk, that may be hydrolyzed to yield glucose and galactose. 2. A white crystalline substance obtained from whey and used in infant foods, bakery products, confections, and pharmaceuticals as a diluent and excipient. Also called milk sugar.
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
1a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe. b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic. 2. To call forth, draw out, or provoke (a reaction, for example). See synonyms at evoke.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Related to, located in, or constituting an outer boundary or periphery. 2. Perceived or perceiving near the outer edges of the retina: peripheral vision. 3. Anatomy a. Of the surface or outer part of a body or organ; external. b. Of, relating to, or being part of the peripheral nervous system. 4. Of minor relevance or importance. 5. Auxiliary
ADJECTIVE: Of or relating to the sense of taste.
ADJECTIVE: Of, relating to, or contributing to the sense of smell.
ADJECTIVE: Having an altering effect on perception, emotion, or behavior. Used especially of a drug.
NOUN: A psychotropic drug or other agent.
NOUN: See opiate (sense 2).
ADJECTIVE: Of or relating to pharmacy or pharmacists.
NOUN: A pharmaceutical product or preparation
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. psy·cho·ses (-sz)
A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning.
NOUN: 1. A colorless, volatile liquid, C9H13N, used as a central nervous system stimulant in the treatment of certain conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and narcolepsy, and abused illegally as a stimulant. 2. A derivative of amphetamine, such as dextroamphetamine or a phosphate or sulfate of amphetamine.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Marked by faulty or inadequate adaptation. 2. Not assisting or promoting adaptation.
NOUN: 1. A visual defect in which distant objects appear blurred because their images are focused in front of the retina rather than on it; nearsightedness. Also called short sight. 2. Lack of discernment or long-range perspective in thinking or planning: “For Lorca, New York is a symbol of spiritual myopia” (Edwin Honig).
NOUN: 1. Agreement; concord. 2. An alphabetical index of all the words in a text or corpus of texts, showing every contextual occurrence of a word: a concordance of Shakespeare's works. 3. Genetics The presence of a given trait in both members of a pair of twins.
ADJECTIVE: Derived from a single fertilized ovum or embryonic cell mass. Used especially of identical twins.
ADJECTIVE: Derived from two separately fertilized eggs. Used especially of fraternal twins
NOUN: 1. The act or process of causing. 2. A cause. 3. Causality
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To obtain or receive from a source. 2. To arrive at by reasoning; deduce or infer: derive a conclusion from facts. 3. To trace the origin or development of (a word). 4. Linguistics To generate (a surface structure) from a deep structure. 5. Chemistry To produce or obtain (a compound) from another substance by chemical reaction.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: To issue from a source; originate. See synonyms at stem1
NOUN: 1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome. 2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
NOUN: 1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome. 2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Present or potential but not evident or active: latent talent. 2. Pathology In a dormant or hidden stage: a latent infection. 3. Biology Undeveloped but capable of normal growth under the proper conditions: a latent bud. 4. Psychology Present and accessible in the unconscious mind but not consciously expressed.
NOUN: A chance circumstance: “Marriage loomed only as an outgrowth of happenstance; you met a person” (Bruce Weber
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. so·ma·ta (-m-t) or so·mas
1. The entire body of an organism, exclusive of the germ cells. 2. See cell body. 3. The body of an individual as contrasted with the mind or psyche.
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: ed·i·fied, ed·i·fy·ing, ed·i·fies
To instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.
NOUN: The period of greatest popularity, success, or power; prime.
NOUN: 1. Philosophy a. A doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought. b. The application of this doctrine in logic, epistemology, and ethics. c. The system of Auguste Comte designed to supersede theology and metaphysics and depending on a hierarchy of the sciences, beginning with mathematics and culminating in sociology. d. Any of several doctrines or viewpoints, often similar to Comte's, that stress attention to actual practice over consideration of what is ideal: “Positivism became the ‘scientific’ base for authoritarian politics, especially in Mexico and Brazil” (Raymond Carr). 2. The state or quality of being positive.
NOUN: 1a. The act of condemning. b. The state of being condemned. 2. Severe reproof; strong censure. 3. A reason or occasion for condemning.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To walk with long steps, especially in a hasty or vigorous way. 2. To take a single long step, as in passing over an obstruction. 3. To stand or sit astride; straddle.
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To walk with long steps on, along, or over: striding the stage. 2. To step over or across: stride a brook. 3. To be astride of; straddle.
NOUN: 1. The act of striding. 2a. A single long step. b. The distance traveled in such a step. 3a. A single coordinated movement of the four legs of a horse or other animal, completed when the legs return to their initial relative position. b. The distance traveled in such a movement. 4. A step of progress; an advance. Often used in the plural: making great strides in their studies.
IDIOMS: hit (one's) stride 1. To achieve a steady, effective pace. 2. To attain a maximum level of competence. take in stride To cope with calmly, without interrupting one's normal routine: taking their newfound wealth in stride.
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To make (something already developed or well under way) greater, as in size, extent, or quantity: Continuing rains augmented the floodwaters. 2. Linguistics To add an augment to.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: To become augmented. See synonyms at increase.
NOUN: (ôgmnt) Linguistics The prefixation of a vowel accompanying a past tense, especially of Greek and Sanskrit verbs.
NOUN: The branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations.
ADJECTIVE: 1. Having or exhibiting healing powers: a therapeutic agent; therapeutic exercises. 2. Of or relating to therapeutics.
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. on·tog·e·nies
The origin and development of an individual organism from embryo to adult. Also called ontogenesis.
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. tel·e·ol·o·gies
1. The study of design or purpose in natural phenomena. 2. The use of ultimate purpose or design as a means of explaining phenomena. 3. Belief in or the perception of purposeful development toward an end, as in nature or history
INTRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: bur·geoned, bur·geon·ing, bur·geons
1a. To put forth new buds, leaves, or greenery; sprout. b. To begin to grow or blossom. 2. To grow and flourish.

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