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TRANSFORMATION: Introduction and assimilation of DNA from one organism into another via uptake of naked DNA. (DM)

TRANSGENIC: An organism (can be plant or animal) in which a foreign gene (a transgene) or DNA sequence, is incorporated into its genome early in development. The transgene is present in both somatic and germ cells, is expressed in one or more tissues, and is inherited by the offspring. A variety containing a foreign gene with the process of genetic engineering - from one species to another. Commonly refers to movement of genes between unrelated species, plants, animals, bacteria, humans, unknown in nature, mediated by humans through genetic manipulation. (DM, JA)

TRANSGENIC ANIMALS: Animals whose hereditary DNA has been augmented by the addition of DNA from a source other than parental germplasm usually from another animal or a human, in a laboratory, using recombinant DNA techniques. Research in this field is done many species. (DM)


TRANSLATION SOFTWARE: Computer programming which allows instantaneous machine translation between human languages, including several automated online systems. Research since the 1950s has led to the current point of conjunction between speech recognition, machine translation and the internet. Examples of technology include interactive online Systran translation, real-time Japanese/English cellphone translation, and wearable translation computers for army personnel. The Universal Translator will revolutionize accessibility to information and cultural exchange. English will no longer be the default language, creating a truly global business and communications infosphere. (See INFOSPHERE, VIDEO CONFERENCING, VOICE RECOGNITION) (MP)

TRANSNATIONAL MOVEMENT OF POLLUTANTS Trans-boundary movement of a Hazardous waste- substance from a jurisdiction of one nation to another or to or through an area not under the national jurisdiction of any country- at least two countries are involved in the movement. E.g. Chernobyl nuclear fall out. (JA)

TRANSLATION: The process in which the genetic code carried by mRNA directs the synthesis of proteins from amino acids. Compare TRANSCRIPTION. (DM)

TRANSLOCATION: The transfer of genetic material from one chromosome to another. An exchange of material between two chromosomes is referred to as a 'reciprocal translocation'. (DM)

TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATION: A corporation across more than one country. (See MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES). (DM)

TRANSPLANTATION: involves the removal of an organ/s, tissue/s or cell/s from one donor organism and transplanted to another (JA)

TRANSPOSABLE ELEMENT: A class of DNA sequences capable of insertion into a genome at numerous positions, and of moving from one area of a genome to another area or another genome. (DM)

TRANSSEXUALISM: A condition in which a person's gender identity is opposite to the biological sex. Transsexuals are convinced, even though the body chromosomes, internal and external reproductive organs and fertility may be normal, that they actually belong to the opposite sex. Many transsexuals choose to undergo gender reassignment operations to alter their external sexual characteristics. Transsexualism should not be confused with homosexuality or transvestism. (See HOMOSEXUALITY, TRANSVESTISM). (IP)

TRANSPOSON: A type of transposable element incapable of autonomous existence, often shuttling genetic material back and forth between cell chromosomes, between smaller replicons, and between chromosomes and replicons. (DM)


TRANSVESTISM: The tendency of dressing in clothes of the opposite sex in order to attain psychic and erotic relief/pleasure. (See HOMOSEXUALITY, TRANSSEXUALISM). (IP)



TREATMENT OUTCOME: The results of clinical interventions in terms of patient health or quality of life. (DM)

TREATMENT REFUSAL: Refusal of treatment by an individual or by a third party authorized to make decisions on behalf of a legally incompetent person. (DM)

TREE PLANTING: The planting of trees has numerous environmental and human benefits other than the provision of timber. These include restoration of habitat and ecology, increased biodiversity, provision of wildlife corridors, stabilisation of soil erosion, reduced soil salinity, greater land fertility, sun shelter, wind-breaks, a carbon sink and source of fresh oxygen, and increased ecological and economic worth. This is in addition to the intrinsic, aesthetic and spiritual values of trees. Tree planting programs should aim for a diversity of local native species rather than stands of a single introduced species such as timber pines, and involve research, seeding, nursery, planting, watering, ecological surveying, monitoring and maintenance. (See AGROFORESTRY, BIOREMEDIATION, ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION, PERMACULTURE, RESTORATION ECOLOGY) (MP)

TREPHINATION: (Trepanation)- A surgical practice which became highly developed in South America in ancient times, between 500 bce and 500 ce. This practice involved the removal of parts of the skull without damage to the brain tissue beneath it. Trephination was employed in order to relieve certain medical conditions or to alleviate symptoms thought to be caused by malignant spirits. (AG)

TRIBE. A group of aboriginal living in close community. As this term has sometimes been used in a scornful way referring to these people and their culture, it is presently been replaced by ethnic group. (GK)

TRIBALISM, ENLIGHTENED : Tribalism is loyalty to one's own local extended family, community and culture. Unenlightened tribalism is xenophobic, and resists any understanding, love or moral responsibility towards the rest of the world. Universalism emphasises the global culture, internationally shared values and solidarity of all humans. But universalism ignores the unique contributions to spirituality, culture and bioethics of local and tribal cultures. Enlightened Tribalism strives to combine the best of Tribalism and Universalism, developing relationships among family and neighbours, developing local spirituality, while recognising our moral duties towards, and solidarity with the rest of the world, and while being open to learning from other cultures.(FL)


TRIDOSA: (Three dosas) These are the three "humors" of the Ayurvedic system of medicine (see AYURVEDA, HUMOR). Each one represents a different mixture of elements, and therefore a different physical disposition, and personality. These three dosas are known as vata, pitta, and kapha, representing air, fire and water-earth respectively. The treatment of different conditions in Ayurveda is based on maintaining balance of the three dosas, and imbalances in the dosas are said to be the origin of diseases. This also results in different diets recommended for people of different dosa orientation. (AG)

TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE: The performance of a company is usually measured by the bottom line (profits), however the trend towards more integrated accounting for sustainable development has created the concept of the triple bottom line. This refers to the more rounded, reasonable inclusion into any assessment of an organization’s accomplishments, of 1) the environmental impacts and 2) the social outcomes, along with 3) the economic dimension. (See SUSTAINABLE CORPORATION, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT) (MP)

TRIPLOIDY: Three complete sets of chromosomes per cell. Ten percent of spontaneous abortions show this type of chromosomal aberrations, which are not viable. (See ABORTION). (GK)

TRIPS AGREEMENT: Agreement on Trade related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The agreement provides a mandatory standards as to which subject matter is eligible for patent protection, as well as in respect of the contents, limits and the term of protection, However, it does not refer to genes. The TRIPS agreement is applicable to all the 144 WTO member states. (JA).

TRISOMY: Tri (three) soma (body),presence of an extra chromosome, making a total of three of one kind eg. Trisomy 21 aneuploidy in humans with Down syndrome. One chromosome is found in three copies. Trisomies can be due to non-disjunction of a pair of chromosomes during meiosis, or to translocations. In both cases, one gamete contributes an extra copy of that chromosomes. Unlike monosomies, many trisomies are viable, the most frequent being the 21 trisomy (Down syndrome, 0.13% in newborns) and the sex chromosome trisomies (Klinefelter XXY, 0.09%; XXX, 0,1%). (JA+GK)

TRITICALE: A wheat/rye hybrid which combines the hardiness of rye with the quality characteristics of wheat. This new crop species is now well developed and replaces wheat in poor quality, marginal lands throughout the world. (JA)


TROPICAL RAINFOREST: Tropical closed moist forests dominated by broad-leaved evergreen trees. The most diverse biome on Earth, tropical rainforests cover only 6% of the surface of the Earth but are thought to contain more than half of all species. The treetops are layered into several canopies which form a dense habitat and prevent 90% of the sunlight from reaching the ground. Tropical rainforests typically receive some 200 centimeters of annual rainfall without distinct changes in climate between seasons. Rainforest biodiversity is based on a very tight recycling of mineral nutrients, most of which are tied up in the vegetation and recycled by means of symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and host plants. Because of natural cycling and reuse of nutrients, luxuriant rainforests can grow on soils that an agriculturist would regard as infertile unless supplied with large amounts of fertilizers. (See BIODIVERSITY, CANOPY, RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION, SYMBIOSIS, TEMPERATE RAINFOREST). (MP & IP)

TROPOSPHERE: The region of the atmosphere between the Earth surface and the stratosphere, which begins at approximately 17 km altitude in the tropics and subtropics but only at about 10 km altitude at higher latitudes. The troposphere is characterized by dropping temperature with increasing altitude and is the zone in which virtually all the water vapor in the atmosphere is located. (See OZONE, OZONE HOLE, STRATOSPHERE). (RW+IP)

TRUTH DISCLOSURE: Truthful revelation to a patient or the patient's family of the patient's diagnosis or prognosis, errors in treatment, or other ``bad news'' (differentiate from DISCLOSURE, which is used in the context of communicating to patients or research subjects information about risks and benefits or alternative approaches to treatment or experimentation). (DM)

TRUTH SERUM: A drug used for the purpose of eliciting information. Chemical interrogation is sometimes attempted during wartime or for national security purposes, and often military or terrorist prisoners have been trained in interrogation-resistance. The ethical and legal status of the use of such drugs is debatable - they are probably used more for criminal purposes than for criminal prosecution. An example is sodium pentothal, with which greater truthfulness is induced by decreasing inhibition to the vocalization of thoughts. (MP)


TUE TINH: (1255-1399) Vietnamese Buddhist priest and physician. Considered the "heavenly authority on Southern medicine" (Thanh thuoc nam). Vietnamese medical tradition distinguishes "Northern" medicine (Chinese) and "Southern" medicine (native Vietnamese medical tradition. Tue Tinh's approach was to respect the Northern medical knowledge but to place the emphasis on Southern medical tradition. His two major works are "Nam duoc than hieu" (Miraculous effects of Southern Medicine) and "Thap tham phuong gia giam" (13 Medical Remedies and their variations). (AG)

TULAREMIA: A virulent bacterial disease caused by Franciella tularensis , infectious of rodents, transmitted by handling and eating of infected animals with irregular fever, aching and inflammations of lymph glands. (JA)

TUNDRA: Northern hemisphere circumpolar environment (very cold, low rainfall) and its ecological communities (mosses, sedges, insects, owl, caribou, polar/grizzly bears etc.) (See TAIGA) (MP)

TURBIDITY: An indicator of the cloudiness or suspended solid particulate matter in smog or muddy water; a commonly measured component of water quality. (See WATER POLLUTION) (MP)

TURING TEST: The ‘Turing Test’, looks for an expression of behavior by a machine which would be considered intelligent in a human. The artificial intelligence is able to pass the test when it cannot be distinguished from a human operator in something like holding a written conversation. It was Alan Turing who also founded modern computing in 1936 with his ‘Turing machine’. (See ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) (MP)


TWINS/TWINNING: Early embryo stem cells (blastomeres) are totipotent; that is, an isolated blastomere can give rise to an entire embryo, a property that is lost as differentiation proceeds. Human twins are classified into two major groups: fraternal or dizygotic, also called biovular, and identical or monozygotic, also called uniovular. Fraternal twins are the result of two separate fertilizations when two oocytes are shed in a single ovulation; identical twins are formed from a common embryo whose cells dissociated from one another. Identical twins (roughly 0.25% of human births) are produced by the separation of early blastomeres or by the separation of the inner cell mass into two regions within the same embryo. About 33% of identical twins have complete and separate placentae, indicating that separation occurred early in embryonic development. The remaining identical twins share a common placenta, suggesting that the split occurred later in the development of the embryo. If the split is incomplete the outcome is conjoined twins. (See CONJOINT TWINS). (IP)

TYPE I ERROR: In statistical method and scientific falsification, Type I Error (type-one error) is incorrectly rejecting a true null-hypothesis. For example, at significance level P=0.05 there is a five percent chance of Type I Error. (See ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE, STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE, TYPE II ERROR) (MP)

TYPE II ERROR: In statistical method and scientific falsification, Type II Error (type-two error) is failing to reject a false null-hypothesis. Statistical power is the probability of Type II Error not occurring. (See ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE, STATISTICAL POWER, TYPE I ERROR) (MP)






























UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

UFO: Unidentified Flying Object

ULTRASOUND: The use of high-frequency sound waves focused on the body to obtain a video image of internal tissues, organs and structures. Ultrasound is particularly useful for in utero examinations of a developing fetus, for evaluation of the development of ovarian follicles, and for the guided retrieval of oocytes for IVF and GIFT. (IP)

ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION: Light in the wavelength range roughly from 100 to 400 nm, which is invisible to the human eye. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) has higher energy than visible light and is strongly absorbed by DNA, which is damaged by exposure. In recent decades, UV irradiance has been increasing as chlorofluorocarbons released by industrial activities have depleted the Earth's stratospheric ozone layer, which acts as a UV shield. Detailed information and data can be obtained from the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre (, which is part of the World Meteorological Organization's Global Atmosphere Watch program. (RW)


UNANI: (meaning "Greek" in Arabic)- A Greco-Arabic system of medicine. This system is based upon classical Greek medicine and elaborated by Islamic scholars. Ibn Sinna's "Canon of Medicine" is a central work of Unani medicine. This system of medicine is practiced especially in India, Pakistan and Nepal. (AG)

UNCED: United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

UNCERTAINTY: The condition in which validated scientific knowledge regarding risks, benefits, diagnosis, or prognosis is unavailable. Uncertainty is a constant and inherent feature of science, medicine, sociology, ecology, development and management. Uncertainty is the backdrop from which we unravel the information we place enough faith in to call knowledge. Uncertainties, limitations and negative results should be revealed rather than repressed in scientific journals and Environmental Impact Assessment. There have been many responses to dealing with uncertainty, for example in business (cost/benefit analysis), environmental management (precautionary principle, hazard prediction), social management (safety regulations, risk analysis) and international relations (military/economic strategy). Risk is where the system is reasonably well understood and quantification may be attempted on the probability of a future occurrence. Uncertainty is where the elements of the system are known but the probabilities of a chance occurrence are unknown. Indeterminacy is where the scientific or social context is not sufficiently understood to allow a problem to be determined - knowledge may be conditional on the validity of certain assumptions. Ignorance implies a lack of understanding of the system itself - we can"t understand what we don"t know. Methodological uncertainty is where the professional judgment may be uncertain because of inherent complexity, subjectivity, measurement inaccuracy, inappropriate scientific methods or assumptions. Statistical uncertainty exists because statistics are inferential and probabilistic. Epistemological uncertainty concerns understanding of the problem and appropriateness of the knowledge framework. (See IGNORANCE, PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, RISK ANALYSIS, UNKNOWABLE) (MP)


UNCONDITONAL LOVE: Love freely given and not restrained by conditions; especially important during childhood development in order to stabilize physical and spiritual wellbeing, and to promote the cycle of nurture and love through the generations. (See LOVE OF LIFE). (IP & MP)

UNCONSTITUTIONAL: Conflicting with the provisions of a constitution, usually the U.S. Constitution. Statutory provisions or particular applications of a statutory provision found unconstitutional are thereby rendered void.

UNCSD: United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

UNCTAD: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

UNDCP: United Nations Drug Control Programme.

UNDP: United Nations Development Programme.

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Founded in 1945, one month after the founding of the United Nations itself. The UNESCO headquarters is in Paris and there are 73 field offices and units spread over the world. Mission: "The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations." (RW)

UNEP: United Nations Environment Program. Founded in 1972 to protect the environment and facilitate sustainable development. Mission statement: "To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of the future generations." (RW)

UNFPA: United Nations Population Fund

UNHCR: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNICEF: United Nations Children’s Fund (formerly United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).

UNIDIR: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research

UNIPOLAR DEPRESSION: a mood disorder where the sufferers are never manic, though they may be what’s called in common parlance a bit "hyper"; they"re usually in varying degrees either even-tempered or depressed. The etiology can either be primary or secondary, where a primary depression is one where the particular mood disorder is the dominant problem. In a secondary depression a number of psychological and/or social variables, or dysfunction, for example, schizophrenia, drug abuse (alcoholism, marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine), extreme nutritional deficiencies and physical illness, may produces the symptoms identified as depression. Low serotonin transmission is associated with unipolar depression; however it’s not clear to what extent biological (genetic) processes are involved since the illness represents a spectrum of diversity as well as severity (see BIPOLAR DEPRESSION, BRAIN NEUROTRANSMITTERS, DEPRESSION, SEROTONIN RE-UPTAKE INHIBITORS). (IP)

UNITED: (Latin: unus "one") Having joined or combined together; in agreement or alliance; a unified and integrated whole; acting as one in purpose, action or belief. (See SOLIDARITY, UNITY) (MP)

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