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WORLD BANK: The World Bank Group is the UN’s ‘International Bank for Reconstruction and Development’, and its affiliates the ‘International Development Association’, ‘International Finance Corporation’ and ‘Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency’.

WORLD HERITAGE: The World Heritage List is an internationally recognized register coordinated by UNESCO for the protection of natural and cultural heritage. World Heritage status is conveyed upon architecture, landscapes, habitats, geological or historical monuments of outstanding universal value. For example, World Heritage natural sites include the Great Barrier Reef, cultural sites include Angkor Wat, and Australia’s Kakadu National Park is listed for both its natural and cultural values. World Heritage Areas imply certain duties of care and require relevant protections by national governments. (See CULTURAL HERITAGE, HERITAGE, NATURAL HERITAGE) (MP)

WORLD VIEW: One’s ‘world-view’ (Weltanschauung) is an epistemological framework or paradigm which explains the world/universe and one’s place in it. For example, outlooks on the structure of reality have sometimes followed science, considering life/mind/world/universe analogous to a machine (e.g. Johannes Kepler), a lineage (Charles Darwin), a web (Fritjof Capra), a hologram (Karl Pribram), a cell (James Lovelock), a computer (Alan Turing), or a matrix of overlapping ‘windows’ (Bill Gates). (See EARTH FROM SPACE, MEANING OF LIFE, PARADIGM) (MP)

WORLD VILLAGE: See ETHICS, POVERTY.

WORLD WIDE WEB: Created by CERN mathematician Tim Berners-Lee and publicly released in 1992, the World Wide Web (or ‘Web’, denoted in internet addresses by ‘www.’) is the user-friendly interface of the internet. The Web contained over one billion public web-pages on all topics at the start of 2000, growing rapidly. Content was mostly text and pictures, with some audio, video and virtual spaces. Information is available without discrimination between different users of the web, or for that matter without discrimination as to the quality of the information posted. (See INTERNET, WEB ADDRESS, WEB BROWSER) (MP)

WORM: 1. Self-propagating computer program or software fragment, usually with potential for illicit damage to data and normal operations. In metaphor with biological parasitic worms, use of the term dates from the rebel 'tapeworm' program of John Brunner's 1975 science fiction novel The Shockwave Rider. A worm differs from a computer virus in its autonomous ability to tunnel segments of its programming across networked computers without having to latch onto a program or data file. (See COMPUTER VIRUS) 2. Generalized term for elongate invertebrates such as annelids and parasitic worms like nematodes. (See ANNELIDA, WORMS) (MP)

WORMHOLE: 'Wormhole', a term coined by John Wheeler based on the 'Einstein-Rosen bridge', describes a point in spacetime geometry which is stretched or pinched (for example inside small black holes), and postulated to form a quantum topological 'tunnel' connecting to other regions of spacetime. Wormholes have some of their most interesting applications in theoretical physics which investigates the possibilities of interstellar and time travel. Wormholes are speculated to perhaps be a cosmic 'umbilical cord' from which new mini-universes may be born, or a type of bridge or gateway connecting distant universes and/or different regions of our universe. (See BLACK HOLE, EVENT HORIZON, PARALLEL UNIVERSE THEORY, SINGULARITY) (MP)

WORMS: Infection by parasitic worms, organisms which complete part of their life-cycle in the intestine, liver or bloodstream of a host body. Intestinal worms and other health implications associated with unclean water are common across much of the less-developed world. Examples of parasitic worms include nematodes, tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, pinworms, flatworms and flukes. (See PARASITE, WORM) (MP)


WRIGHT, ROBERT. Author. The Moral Animal. Why We Are The Way We Are. The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology (New York: Vintage Books, 1994). (DM)

WRONGFUL LIFE: In civil law, a cause of action which alleges that a defendant has wrongfully caused a child to be born. (DM)

WTO: WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION.

WWF: Worldwide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund).

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X- FACTOR: Heme required for the growth of certain Haemophilus Spp. (JA)

X-LINKED: Genes carried on the X chromosome.

X-LINKED RECESSIVE DISORDERS: Those disorders due to a mutation on the X chromosome. X-linked recessive disorders usually only affect males, but the disorders can be transmitted through healthy female carriers. Examples are haemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the Fragile X syndrome which is associated with learning disability. (JA)

XENOBIOTIC: (Greek xenos "foreign" + bios "life") pertaining to drugs or organic poisons that are foreign to the body; such as drugs of abuse, organophosphorus pesticides, certain anticancer drugs, cytotoxic agents and aromatic hydrocarbon components of cigarette smoke. (See smoking, passive smoking). (IP)


XENOETHICS 1. foreign ethics such as the ethical beliefs of other cultures 2. standards of conduct and moral judgment based on cultural and/or religious confines. (See ETHICS). (IP)

XENOGRAFT: (Greek xenos "foreign" + graphion "stylus") also called heterograft, a temporary graft of tissue from a foreign species used in emergency situations, as in the treatment of severe burns, when insufficient healthy tissue from the patient is available. The graft is quickly rejected by the body’s immune system but provides protection of open wounds for a few days. (See ALLOGRAFT, AUTOGRAFT). (IP)


XENOPHOBIA: (Greek xenos
"foreign" + phobos "fear") an irrational fear of strangers, especially foreigners, or an unfounded anxiety in unfamiliar environments. The condition may be seen as a type of anxiety disorder. (See RACISM). (IP)

XENOTRANSPLANTATION: involves the removal of an organ/s, tissue/s or cell/s from one animal species donor organism and transplanted to a human being. Xeno = other than /different. One animal to a different animals transpecies implantation (JA+IP)

XYLEM: Vascular tissue of angiosperm plants, involved in the transport of water with its dissolved minerals and nutrients. (See ANGIOSPERM, PHLOEM, PLANTAE) (MP)

XYY KARYOTYPE: An abnormal chromosomal arrangement in males which is characterized by an extra Y chromosome. (DM)

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YELLOWCAKE: Unprocessed uranium oxide, or mined uranium ore. (See URANIUM) (MP)

YI CHEMA: (1836-1900) Korean physician. Developed the Korean Sasang (4-type) medical system. As in Greek medicine, the Sasang system divides people into four types, and the treatment of conditions is based upon one's constitutional type. However, the definition of these four types is different than the humors of Greek medicine. Yi Chema wrote a detailed description of his system in the work "Tongui suse powon" (Longevity and Life Preservation in Oriental Medicine). (AG)

YIELD: 1. To surrender or relinquish power. 2. Interest payment or profit returns. 3. The produce returned from agricultural cultivation, hunting or fishing. (See OPTIMUM SUSTAINABLE YIELD, SUSTAINABLE YIELD) (MP)

YIN AND YANG: The two forces in the universe in traditional Chinese terms, which are both in opposition and complementary to each other. Yin and Yang represent the positive and negative forces in the universe, and these can be perceived in every aspect of the universe. Although they may be labelled as "positive" and "negative", one is not preferred over the other. Rather it is more along the lines of positive and negative existing in electrical currents. Both are integral aspects of electricity. As with the five elements (see FIVE ELEMENTS), Yin and Yang should ideally be in balance. If an imbalance develops in either direction, this can generate problems of various types. The concepts of Yin and Yang are important for traditional Chinese medicine. (AG)

YONI: From Sanskrit, the yoni refers to the vulva or feminine gender, sometimes represented in image or statue and worshipped in Hinduism as a divine object of pleasure and regeneration. (See LINGAM). (MP)


YOUTH: Young people, individually or collectively, and the freshness, vigor, enthusiasm and flexibility associated with youth. Human mythologies have always yearned for an eternal ‘fountain of youth’, and people have sometimes turned to drugs and plastic surgery in their vain search. Young people have a greater investment in a sustainable future, but youth needs and issues may be out of touch with the senior adults in control of society. Society has a special responsibility for youngsters and youth issues, since they may not yet have mature decision-making capacity or voting rights. (See INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY, MATURITY) (MP)

YUK FACTOR: A term used to indicate the ethical acceptability of any type of experimental engineering procedures. Foe example can a cow be used as a “milk producing machine” due to genetically engineered BST. Or the interference of human technology in human reproduction. Yuk factor plays a role in bioethics where value judgment is essential - in the continuum of human development from the conception to zygote to embryo to fetus when exactly one can recognize human personhood? (JA)

YUPPIES: Colloquial contraction of ‘Young Upwardly-mobile (or Urban) Professionals’, the yuppie contrasts with the hippie in being a city-dwelling professional, economically and socially motivated, technologically aware, stock-market driven, consumeristic and distracted by fashionable social trends. Yuppiedom is the associated home-renovating, mobile phone-toting new age lifestyle, and yuppification is the gentrification or modernization of urban areas. (See GREENIES, HIPPIES) (MP)

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ZERO GRAVITY: An environment with an absence of gravitational force, such as that of the orbiting Space Shuttle or the newly developed International Space Station. Has relevance to some experimental research in physiology and to health factors such as muscle mass and bone density after extended human exposure. (See INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, NASA). (MP)

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH: a situation of equilibrium in which there is no population increase during a given year, or other defined period of time, because the total live birth rate (+ immigration) is equal to the total death rate (+ emigration). The environmental impact of population growth rate can better be appreciated by the time taken for the population to double in size. For example, growth rates of 2% - a doubling time of 35 years - is particularly relevant since large parts of the world have a growth rate close to 2% which is clearly unsustainable. (See CRITICALLY ENDANGERED, EXTINCTION, HUMAN EXTINCTION, POPULATION). (IP+MP)


ZOHAR: ("Splendour") Main text of the Jewish mystical teachings of the Kabbalah. It contains commentary on the Pentateuch, said to have been communicated to Moses at Mount Sinai. Discovered in the 13th Century, it was perhaps arguably composed by Moses de Leon of Guadalajara, but was attributed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (2nd Century) and is considered authentic by followers of the Kabbalistic tradition. (See KABBALA) (MP)

ZONA PELLUCIDA: A thick, transparent noncellular layer of uniform thickness surrounding the oocyte, zygote and early embryo for several days, when it degenerates and allows the embryo to everge or hatch out.

ZOO: (Greek: zoion "animal") 1. Zoo- and zo- are the combining forms indicating animals. 2. Zoo is an abbreviation of zoological garden, a place where animals are kept for exhibition to the public. Zoos also play an important conservation role, including breeding programs for endangered species, biological science and research, and promoting environmental education and ecological empathy. (MP)

ZOOGEOGRAPHY: Study of the geographical range and distribution of animals across the earth. Of particular importance is the monitoring of endangered species and the spread of exotic pests. (MP)

ZOOLOGY: (Greek: zoion
"animal" + logos "word" or "reason") The branch of biological science dealing with animal life, for example the classification, evolution or physiology of animals, or the characteristics or diversity of fauna in a group or region. (MP)

ZOONOSES: Diseases which are specific to animals in the normal course of life and are contracted by human begins due to/after xenotransplantation (JA)

ZOROASTER: (Zarathustra- meaning "owner of the golden camel") (lived between approx. 1400- 1200 bce). Founder of Zoroastrianism (see ZOROASTRIANISM). Central topics in his teaching include cattle herding, pursuit of justice, kinship and friendship, hospitality, and priestly rituals. Nietzsche's (see NIETZSCHE) book "Also sprach Zarathustra" (Thus spoke Zarathustra) makes use of Zoroaster's name as an ancient prophet, although the book is not about Zoroastrian teachings. (AG)

ZOROASTRIANISM: The teaching of Zoroaster. According to this teaching, the world and all good things in it were created by Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda was aided in the creation by six lesser divinities known as the Amesha Spenta (Holy Immortals). Ahura Mazda, along with these six Amesha Spenta make up the Zoroastrian Heptad (Greek "heptad", meaning " group of seven"). The Heptad and dualism provide the foundation for Zoroastrian teachings. (AG)


ZPG: See ZERO POPULATION GROWTH.

ZHU XI: See CHU HSI.

ZYGON: Greek word meaning "yolk" hence is the key concept describing zygote. Also the name is taken by a journal of science and religion. (IP)

ZYGOTE: The fertilized egg; the single cell that is formed when the two haploid sets of chromosomes in the pronuclei of the male and female gametes come together at syngamy. Also used loosely to refer to the early embryo during the first few weeks. The single cell resulting from the syngamy of nuclei from sperm and egg after fertilization (DM, JA)

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Copyright 2005 Eubios Ethics Institute


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