Techniques are now available for isolating genes, for determining their structure and function at the molecular level and for using them in various ways to diagnose and treat disease. Many, possibly most(!), non-specialists may not be familiar with the terminology of molecular genetics. Here we offer a glossary of terms that are now encountered in general medical journals, in clinical practice and in material published by the pharmaceutical industry. We begin, however, with a brief description of the basic mechanisms of inheritance and protein synthesis and examples of clinical applications of gene manipulation.
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