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TERATOGENIC: Producing malformation in an embryo or fetus.

TERATOLOGY: From the Greek word teras meaning abnormal form, is the branch of science that deals with the causes, mechanisms, manifestations and prevention of congenital defects. (DM)

TERATOMA: A new and uncontrolled growth of cells and tissues that are the product of an abnormal fertilization without any potential to develop into an embryo proper or fetus. (DM)

TERMINAL SEDATION: The phrase came into usage as early as 1980s. also known as the end-of-life care, a legal alternative to assisted suicide/slow euthanasia. It is also known as the “deliberate termination of awareness” If no other means of alleviating the pain exist then it is intended to simply relieve the pain effectively. (JA).


TESTOSTERONE: A naturally occurring androgenic hormone often referred to as the male sex hormone. Testosterone is the principal androgen in the male, approximately 95% of it is produced by the Leydig cells in the testes with the remainder coming from the adrenal glands. In a normal adult male, the endocrine effects of testosterone are felt in virtually every tissue but in terms of its effect on fertility, the primary role of testosterone is in its regulation of spermatogenesis. Testosterone is also produced in the ovaries but in lower concentration. In the female androgens (testosterone and androstenedione) is likewise essential for fertility (oocyte maturation) and sexual behavior. (IP)

TETRAPLOIDY: Four complete sets of chromosomes per cell. Ten percent of spontaneous abortions show tri or tetraploidy of chromosomal aberrations, which are not viable. (See ABORTION). (GK)

THALES (c. 585 BC) Is thought of as the first Greek philosopher. His doctrine that "everything is made of water" is important as a forerunner of many monistic doctrines, throughout the history of science, which have sought to explain everything in terms of a single, unitary explanation of the form: "Everything is X". Examples are: "Everything is physics", "Everything is chemistry", and of course: "Everything is genetics". We are gradually waking up to the fact that simplistic explanations are inadequate and that the causes of phenomena are too complex for unitary explanations. Thales also said that everything is full of gods, pointing to the spiritual side of scientific explanation. (FL)

THAUMATIN: Is a sweetening ingredient found in the fruits of the plant Thaumatococcus danielli . A pertinacious substance with a very high sweetening capacity then sugar (3000 times). The gene to produce Thaumatin has been genetically engineering into E. coli and other microorganisms so that it can be produced on a larger scale. (JA)

THC: The most important active constituent of hemp plants, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the drug component of Cannabis which creates the euphoric high sought by users of marijuana. Synthetic THC (dronabinol; trade names Deltanyne and Marinol) has been approved for use as an analgesic in patients suffering chronic pain such as that experienced in cancer or AIDS. However, since tetrahydrocannabinol is widely recognized as a drug of addiction and the private cultivation of the plant is usually prohibited, therapeutic use of self-grown preparations is a contentious socio-legal issue. (See MARIJUANA). (IP)


THEOCENTRIC: A concept of believing God created all creatures, considers human beings in God's image, attributes stewardship of human beings to biosphere resources/maintenance. God as the object of worship, control of one's action in day to day life. For example some views include: Christian - biosphere and all organisms a creation of God, including human beings in God_s image, detailed in Genesis account of creation. Have "dominion" Genesis Chapter 1:28 may mean either "rule over" (stewardship) or "taken over", indicates the idea of relatedness of all life forms and to do good to them all. A purpose oriented created. Jains - A view of creation similar to the account given in Bible. Hindu - Vedic period concept holds nature is divine, worshipped, reverenced, Rivers and mountains named as gods and goddesses, regarded plants as divine, provided animals as vehicles to male gods. (JA)

THERAPEUTIC: Adj., having curative properties/value. (JA)


THERAPEUTIC CLONING: Medical and scientific applications of cloning technology, which do not result in the production of genetically identical fetuses or babies. (JA)

THERAPEUTIC PROTEINS: Proteins with curing property, pharmaceutically useful proteins, to cure deficiency/defect. E.g. Insulin to cure diabetics . These are pharmaceutical proteins developed directly from DNA sequences for medical applications in human beings. (See AAT, PROTEIN, VACCINE). (JA)

THERAPEUTIC RESEARCH: Research that is intended to benefit the subject on whom it is performed. (DM)

THERAPY: The provision of remedies in the treatment of disorders or illnesses. (DM)

THERMODYNAMICS: The branch of physics dealing with heat energy. A wide interpretation identifies four laws of thermodynamics: zero - no exchange of heat in contact is thermal equilibrium; first law - energy can change form but is conserved; second law - entropy always increases in a closed system; third law - absolute zero Kelvin is the minimum possible temperature. (See ENERGY, TEMPERATURE) (MP)

THERMOLUMINESCENCE DATING relies on quartz timing which depends on the counting of electrons trapped by naturally-occurring mechanical forces in the mineral of interest. These electrons are trapped at a regular rate and are released by the sunlight’s energy (zero time) but if buried in sediments become an effective clock when millennia later heating the quartz releases the electrons" energy in measurable photons with its intensity being directly proportional to the time since the quartz was last exposed to sunlight. The technology is more useful than the 40,000 year limit of radiocarbon dating and has extended archaeological understanding (see OPTICAL DATING, RADIOCARBON DATING). (IP)

THIRD PARTY: An independent observer or mediator outside of the immediate conflict or decision. Third parties should remain balanced, independent, facilitative and engage in analytical rather than bargaining dialogue. (See MEDIATION, FACILITATION, NEGOTIATION) (MP)

THIRD PARTY CONSENT: Informed consent given by someone other than the patient or research subject. (DM)

THIRD WORLD: A term used in international political economics to refer to parts of Africa, South America, Asia and the Pacific characterized by low levels of wealth, literacy, health, military stability, productivity, food security, welfare and wellbeing. ‘Tiers-Monde’ was popularized by Georges Balandier and Alfred Sauvy (1950s) as a politically-oriented terminology, differentiating also the democratic capitalism of the First World from the command economies of the Second World. The descriptive system has endured despite criticism and great diminution of the ‘Second World’ after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Other descriptive terms include ‘South’, ‘Less Developed Country’ and ‘Developing Country’. The forgiveness of third world debt and anti-globalization movements raise questions about the effects of North-South military/economic relations on human rights and poverty. Other ethically relevant progress issues include democratic reform, disarmament, de-colonialization, inequitable economic exchange, unjust structural adjustment conditions, access to life-saving pharmaceuticals and patents, protection of tropical rainforests, sustainable development, capacity building and peace building. (See DEVELOPING NATIONS, FIRST WORLD, FOURTH WORLD, SECOND WORLD) (MP)

THIRD WORLD NATIONS: Countries who belong to the THIRD WORLD.


THREATENED SPECIES: A species which is in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species include members of any of the following three categories: Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. (See ENDANGERED SPECIES) (MP)

THREE MILE ISLAND: Pennsylvania site of a nuclear energy reactor accident in March 1979, in which partial meltdown of the core caused radioactive leakage and came close to a ‘China syndrome’ on the scale of Chernobyl if it had not been cooled in time. (See CHERNOBYL, CHINA SYNDROME) (MP)

THRESHOLD: An edge, entrance or starting point; the point at which some process begins, comes true or ceases; the minimum strength at which a stimulus is perceived. (See THRESHOLD MANAGEMENT) (MP)

THRESHOLD MANAGEMENT: A concept with applications to biodiversity conservation, pollution chemistry, environmental management and economic analysis, in which the approach of indicators towards certain thresholds is monitored to regulate the impacts of a management policy which can be adapted accordingly. Using an example from fisheries management, commercial fishing would continue until stocks reach an ecologically-determined "sustainable" population threshold at which point harvesting would cease. The "acceptable biological catch" is always above the threshold within which species can regenerate their populations, and "overfishing" refers to harvesting beyond this threshold. (See ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT, SUSTAINABLE FISHING, SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT) (MP)

Ti PLASMID: Tumor inducing plasmid found in the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens - Ti plasmid can be transferred to a plant cell so as to induce a tumor - a bacterial gall, which is a hard globular outgrowths on the leaf. (JA)


TIDAL ENERGY: The generation of renewable power by using the movement of the tides to drive an electricity generator. Such power stations require a large tidal range and should maintain respect for intertidal ecologies. (See OCEAN POWER, RENEWABLE ENERGY, WAVE POWER) (MP)


TIME HORIZON: The distance looked into the future when a person, government or management authority makes decisions. The impacts of decisions and policy often affect society or the environment well beyond the time horizon. (See INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT, STOPGAP MEASURES) (MP)

TIME LAG: A period of time after causal agents have been active but before which repercussive effects have begun to have noticeable impact. Examples include biological or chemical effects on the body, or the impacts of pollution or climate change on aspects of the environment. The time lag may induce a false sense of security, increasing the likelihood of the passage of critical thresholds. (See THRESHOLD, TIME SERIES DATA) (MP)

TIME SERIES DATA: Information gathered over an extended time period such that natural processes of change and temporal fluctuations in parameters may be monitored. The Environmental Impact Assessment process has been criticized on the grounds that it only provides a snapshot in time rather than the time-series data essential for integrated and adaptive long-term management. (See ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT, BEFORE/AFTER CONTROL/IMPACT METHODS, ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING) (MP)

TIPITAKA: Scriptures of Theravada Buddhism, also known as the "Pali Canon", containing the philosophy of Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE). Verbal Canon completed by 252 BCE, but not fixed in writing until perhaps the 1st Century BCE. (MP)


TISSUE CULTURE: The propagation of tissue removed from organisms in a laboratory environment that has strict sterility, temperature, and nutrient requirements.

TISSUE PLASMINOGEN ACTIVATOR (tPA): A genetically engineered protein drug that helps to dissolve blood clots in patients who have suffered heart attacks. (DM)

TNT: The yellow solid TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) is a conventional high explosive used in warfare, mining and movies. The explosive yield of a bomb is measured in terms of equivalent TNT. (See EXPLOSIVE YIELD) (MP)

TOBACCO: Plant of the genus Nicotiana in family Solanaceae from which smoking and chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars and snuff are manufactured. There are over 50 varieties of the plant but only a few are used for smoking purposes. N. babacum and N. rustica are the most important commercially. N. rustica was cultivated by the ancient Mexicans and by the North American First Nation peoples. (See ADDICTION, NICOTINE, SMOKING). (IP)


TOLERANCE: The disposition to be fair towards those whose opinions or practices differ from one’s own - freedom from bigotry. (IP)

TORAH: (from the Hebrew root y.r.y., meaning "to guide, to teach"). The primary meaning of this word is "teaching", and so one finds in the Hebrew of the Old Testament expressions such as "this is the torah (teaching) as regards the burnt offering", "this is the torah regarding one who is afflicted with tzara'at (a skin condition)". The most common derived meaning from this is the teachings contained in the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis through Deuteronomy). These five books are known together as Torah (with a capital T). According to Jewish tradition, the Torah in this second meaning, was received from God at Mount Sinai by Moses in its entirety. For this reason, the Torah is the most sacred of Jewish books, and the study of Torah is central to Jewish tradition. In a more general meaning than this, the word Torah has also been applied to the Oral Tradition of the rabbis, and so, there is reference made to Oral Torah (i.e. teaching of the rabbis) and Written Torah (i.e. the five books received by Moses). Because of this more general meaning, the word Torah is sometimes used to mean "Jewish teachings" in general. In the Quran and other Muslim sources, the word "Tawrat" (the Arabic equivalent of "Torah") is used to refer to the entirety of the Old Testament, rather than exclusively refering to the five books of Moses. (AG)

TORTS: In law, private or civil wrongs, other than breach of contract, for which the courts will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages. A private or civil wrong resulting from a breach of a legal duty that exists by virtue of society's legal expectations regarding interpersonal conduct, rather than by virtue of a contractual agreement. (DM)

TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC): The overall allowable fishing catch in accordance with a sustainable fishery management plan. Fishing may be regulated by closing the fishery when TAC is reached, or by the allocation of portions of TAC as fishing quotas. (See FISHING QUOTA, SUSTAINABLE FISHING, THRESHOLD MANAGEMENT) (MP)

TOTAL CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT (TCM): TCM is an environmental management policy which emphasizes the centrality of water and that water catchments are a useful bioregion for implementing management. Integrated natural resource management should be based upon fundamental processes and boundaries such as the water cycle, drainage system, river catchments, and ecological and human water requirements. TCM also has social components, sometimes requiring inter-governmental/multidisciplinary collaboration, often in committees including scientific, government, developer, landholder, local and indigenous representatives. Issues include fairness in water utilization/regulation/ownership, downstream water quality/pollution, sustainability issues, and adequacy of water for freshwater/riparian/floodplain ecologies. (See INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT) (MP)


TOTEMISM 1. a view that an object or emblem, especially sacred animal or religious image, stands in a special relationship to a specific person, familial group or clan, and which galvanizes rituals intended to unite (see Animism) 2. For the Australian Aboriginal, totems create the spiritual link between humans and all the things in Nature and the Dreaming; for example, if a person has a special spiritual link with an emu the emu becomes that person’s totem which provides the connection to the Emu Dreaming to the extent of the emu being brother. It is the mother or the father, depending on the traditions of the language group, who will be given a sign as to which Dreaming their child will be affiliated with. Since Aboriginal people have special rights and duties in relation to their totemic links; for example making sure that that animal, plant, insect will not die out (it is forbidden to eat ones totem), totemism becomes a potent conservation strategy enforcing responsible stewardship of species. (IP)

TOTIPOTENCY: This represents the capacity (potential) of a cell or a cluster of cells to produce the whole (total) embryo and fetus with all its extraembryonic membranes and tissues. Pluripotency or multipotency is similar but is restricted to represent the capacity to produce a variety of parts and tissues but not the whole embryo and fetus. (DM)

TOTIPOTENT: (Latin: totus
'whole, entire' + potens 'powerful') A single cell has full genetic potential to become a complete organism during any stage in life process, cells capable of reproducing themselves continually. A term proposed by the German botanist Gottleib Heberlant in 1902. (JA)

TOUCH: (French toucher 'to touch'). The tactile sense or the ability to feel objects and to distinguish their various characteristics. A lack of tactile stimulation, especially in early infancy, may lead to serious developmental and emotional disturbances. For example, massaged babies gain weight as much as 50% faster than unmassaged babies and are more active, alert, aware of and responsive to the environment, are able to tolerate noise and orient themselves faster as they are emotionally more in control. (See SENSES). (IP)


TOWER OF SILENCE: The place to which the dead bodies of humans are brought according to Zoroastrian tradition. In such towers, the body is neither buried nor cremated, because both earth and fire have special sanctity in Zoroastrian tradition. So, in order not to pollute either of these, the body is placed in a tower which is open at the top. Then, through a combination of the process of decomposition and scavenging birds, eventually only the bones remain. (AG)

TOXIC: A chemical or physical agent that produces an adverse effect on an organism/a biological system, a poison (JA+SG2)

TOXIC CHEMICALS: A substance or a chemical product which can cause a harmful effect in humans and in other organisms. It could be a substance that cause a concern for humans due to its possible developmental effect or due to its nature to impair human fertility or both. (See TOXIN). (JA).

TOXICITY TESTING: The use of experimental procedures to determine the levels at which exposure to a material leads to adverse effects in test subjects, the characterization of such induced effects and the elucidation of mechanisms of action by which effects were induced. (DM)

TOXICOLOGY: The study of the adverse effects of chemical and physical agents on living organisms. Examples of toxicology are the study of effect of lead on the developing nervous system, the environmental effects of mercury, loud noise on hearing, or the effects of radiation. (JA+SG2)

TOXICOLOGIST: A scientist that studies the adverse effects of agents on biological systems. (SG2)

TOXICANT (poison): An agent cable of causing toxicity or adverse effects on an organism. (SG2)

TOXIN: Most often, a toxic peptide or protein capable of eliciting antibody production. A natural biological agent (from plants, animals, bacteria or fungus) that causes toxicity. A toxicant is a substance that has been shown to present some significant degree of possible risk when consumed above safe limits by animals. See endotoxin and exotoxin. A harmful substance - poisonous substance Algal - bioactive compounds produced by algae with toxic effect, e.g. Red tide - diatom algae Trichodesmium produces paralytic and diarrhoetic shellfish poisons. For example, domoic acid found in shellfish, nicotine in tobacco leafs, caffeine in cola nuts or snake venom. (DM, JA)

TRACY: A GMO (LMO) sheep, product of Roslin Institute, PPL-Therapeutics produced her progeny, has human gene coding AAT protein to produce in her mammary gland. See also Dolly and Polly. (JA)

TRADE EFFLUENTS: Any liquid, gaseous or solid substance which is discharged from any premises used for carrying on any industrial operations or process or treatment and disposal system other than domestic sewage. (JA)

TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS: The Tragedy of the Commons is a famous essay authored by Garrett Hardin. It is an argument for private ownership as a means of conserving resources. Hardin envisages an area of common land on which animals are kept for grazing by a number of herders. It is to the advantage (sensu self interest) of any one herder to increase the number of animals he keeps on the commons. So all do. But this leads to overgrazing and irreversible damage to the commons. The tragedy of the commons has been repeated a thousand times. We overfish, we cut down too many trees, we extract too much freshwater from aquifers and so, through human selfishness, we ruin much of what is held in common ownership. (MR)

TRAIT: Phenotypical and genotypical characters in plants and animals, vary in degree they are expressed. Exhibited desired traits selected empirically for improvement. E.g. Shape and size of cultivated plants, domestic ornamental plants and animals with disease resistance. (JA)

TRANQUILITY: A peaceful, serene setting, often natural sounds and surrounds which soothe the mood and calm mind and body. (See PEACE, SHANTI) (MP)

TRANS- : Combining prefix from Latin, trans means ‘across’, ‘beyond’. (See INTER-, MEGA-, META-, MULTI-) (MP)


TRANSCRIPTION: The synthesis of mRNA from a sequence of DNA (a gene); the first step in gene expression. Compare translation. (DM)

TRANSDISCIPLINARY: (Trans- 'beyond') An approach in which the problem-solving process is the primary consideration, and information from any relevant profession or discipline may be incorporated into the solution process. This is distinct from inter- or multidisciplinary approaches which originate among disciplines. (See ENLIGHTENMENT THINKING, INTERDISCIPLINARY, MULTIDISCIPLINARY) (MP).

TRANSDUCTION: The transfer of genetic material from one cell to another by means of a virus or bacteriophage. (DM)

TRANSFER RNA, tRNA: A class of RNA having structures with triplet nucleotide sequences that are complementary to the triplet nucleotide coding sequences of mRNA. The role of tRNAs in protein synthesis is to bond with amino acids and transfer them to the ribosomes, where proteins are synthesized according to the instructions carried by mRNA. Chemical (transfer ribonucleic acid) responsible for carrying individual AMINO ACIDS (q.v.) within a cell so that PROTEINS (q.v.) of the appropriate type can be assembled from instructions provided by GENES (q.v.). (DM+MR+GK)

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