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Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | index

A

Allogeneic: This term describes an element (for example cells susceptible for transplantation) belonging to an individual of the same species, as opposed to "autologous" which comes from the same individual of the same species.

Analgesia: A method of anesthesia to remove or reduce pain without having to sedate the patient. Analgesia avoids general anesthesia

Andrology: the word "andrology" , a medical speciality concerned with disorders of the reproductive and urologic tract (sterility, erectile dysfunction or troubles of ejaculation, for example).

B

Blastocyst: stage of development of the embryo when implantation occurs in the uterus.



C

Catheter: A thin, flexible tube used to inseminate the sperm (in an artificial insemination) or to transfer the embryos (after in vitro fertilization) in the uterine cavity.

Cervical mucus: secretion with an aspect of viscous gel produced by the glands of the cervix. In the period of ovulation, under the effect of hormones, it becomes more abundant and permeable to sperm, which will thus be able to penetrate inside the uterus.


Cloning: reproductive cells, from animals or plants that are identical for all genes contained in each of their cell nucleus. Available methods for animal cloning are the embryonic division and nuclear embryo transfer.

            - Reproductive cloning: in common language it is the laboratory technique of asexual reproduction by transferring a nucleus into an enucleated oocyte being able to lead to the birth of an individual genetically identical to the single-parent donor cell nucleus.

            - Non-reproductive cloning: so called therapeutic or scientific, it uses the same nuclear transfer technique than in reproductive cloning. Its purpose differs from reproductive cloning in that it leads to the destruction of embryos to extract the stem cells that can differentiate into several cell types and tissues to be destined for graft compatible with the donor cell nucleus.
 
Cervix uterine: channel forming the lower portion of the uterus which opens into the vagina; canal between the vagina and uterus.

Corpus luteum (yellow body): a structure developed from the follicle after the release of the oocyte.

Cytoplasm: the matrix of the cell. The organelles responsible to produce energy in the cell, the mitochondria, are contained in the cytoplasm, as well as other cellular organelles and the nucleus itself. It is conventionally considered that anything that is not nuclear neither cell membrane is cytoplasmic.



D

DNA: This term refers to a molecule containing all information necessary for the development and functioning of an organism. It is also the holder of the heredity because it is transmitted through the reproduction.

DNAfingerprinting: identification of a genomic profile unique for each individual.

E

Ejaculate: sperm released during ejaculation composed of seminal fluid and other cells, including the spermatozoa.

Embryo: the early stage of development when cell division starts after fertilization of an egg by sperm.

Embryonic stem cells: derived from the blastocyst, they are able to multiply indefinitely and to differentiate into many different tissues.
 
Endometrium: also called endometrium, tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. It is the site of implantation of the embryo. During menstruation, the most superficial part of the endometrium detaches from the uterus causing bleeding.

Epididymis: organ constituted of a channel located at the exit of each testicle and that allows the storage and transport of sperm that are formed in the testis to another channel, the vas deferens at the time of ejaculation.

Epigenetics: A set of phenomena caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence which influence gene expression during embryonic development and whose outcome is inscribed in the cell memory. This is particularly the case of imprinting.

F

Fertilization: reproductive stage corresponding to the union of an ovum and a sperm to form a zygote.

Fertility / sterility: the ability or inability for a couple to conceive, i.e. to become pregnant.

Fibroblast: connective tissue cell that secretes which comprises the extracellular medium (proteins and other substances of the matrix).

Follicles: rounded structures located in the ovary constituted of an oocyte surrounded by follicular cells or feeder cells and containing some liquid. During its growth, the follicle is visible on ultrasound, in contrast to the oocyte, which is too small to be seen.

FSH: a hormone regulating the growth and maturation of follicles in the ovary in women and sperm production by the testes in men, produced by a gland at the base of the brain (pituitary or hypophysis).

G

 

Gametes: cells so called sexual cells in reproduction: the sperm for the male and the oocyte (egg) for the female.

Gametogenesis: it is the succession of steps from a germline stem cell leading to male or female gamete.

Gene: A segment of DNA that codes for a protein to give the origin of a cell property.

I

Imprinting: state of expression of a gene that depends of its origin being parental or maternal.

K

Karyotype: analysis of the chromosomes contained in the nucleus of a cell and which are the support of genetic information.

L

 

Laparoscopy: surgical technique that allows the observation of the different organs in the abdominal cavity (the tubes, ovaries and uterus, for example) using an optical fiber. Laparoscopy is used for the diagnosis of certain diseases and to perform certain surgical procedures.


Lineage: the sequence of steps conducting a stem cell into a differentiated cell.

 

M

 



Meiosis: The process of germ cell division reducing the number of chromosomes by half, leading to the formation of gametes.

Mesenchymal: that belongs to the mesenchyme, connective tissue of support composed of cells of fibroblast appearance (in spindle shape) giving origin to many tissues such as cartilage, bone, muscle, blood and even adipose tissue. It is one of the three constituent layers of the embryo, with the neuroectoderm (future nervous system) and endoderm (future digestive and respiratory systems)

Mitosis: The process of cell division after replication of chromosomes to produce two identical daughter cells.

Monozygotic: describes the origin of a single zygote, that is to say the fertilization of one ovum by a spermatozoon.

 

N

 



Nucleotide: the basic unit of DNA consisting of three components: a nitrogenous base (adenine, thymine, guanine or cytosine) linked to a sugar (deoxyribose), and a phosphate group.

 

O

 

Oncogene: category of genes associated with malignant disease whose property is to accelerate the proliferation of cells so that it escapes normal regulation.

Oophorectomy: surgical removal of one or both ovaries.

Organelle: specialized element contained in the cytoplasm of a cell, e.g. mitochondria, which produces energy for the cell cytoplasm and contains DNA.

 

P

 

Pelvic ultrasound (in women): a painless method of examination using an ultrasound to visualize the genital organs, especially the ovaries and uterus, and to monitor the development of follicles in the ovaries.

Procreation: French reproduction term reserved for the human species.

R

Retroviruses: RNA viruses with an enzyme called reverse-transcriptase capable of transcribing viral RNA into proviral DNA, making possible the integration of the viral genome into the genome of a cell. It is commonly used in laboratories for transgenesis.

 


S

Somatic cells: any cell in the body except gametes (e.g. spermatozoa and oocytes).

Species: the great diversity of living organisms makes the concept of species difficult to define whether in the animal or the botanic world. It is the ability of a set of individuals and their progeny to interbreed, which defines a species. One species belongs to a genus of closely related species in evolutionary terms: Homo (genus) sapiens (species).

Surnumerary embryos: are the embryos obtained through in vitro fertilization and considered a surplus to be transferred at once, because of an unacceptable risk of multiple pregnancy and its consequences.

Sustainability: refers to a cell culture that can multiply indefinitely by subculturing passages.

T

 

Telomere: extremity part of a chromosome, involved in regulating the lifespan of a cell.

Transgenesis: all operations which consist of getting an organism "genomically” modified.

U

Ultrasonography of the genital tract (in men): a painless method of examination using an ultrasound to visualize the genitalia, especially the testes, epididymis, prostate gland and contributing to the development of sperm.

Z

Zygote: cell formed after fusion of an oocyte with sperm.

 

 

Abbrevations

ABM: Agency of Biomedicine
ART: assisted reproductive technologies
ASRM: American Society of Reproductive Medicine
BLEFCO: Biologists association for laboratory studies on fertilization and preservation of the oocyte
BSE: bovine spongiform encephalitis
CECOS: center of study and storage of oocytes and sperm
CCNE: National Consultative Ethics Committee for Life Sciences and Health
CEDHB (Council of Europe): European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine
CDBI: Steering Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe
DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid
DGS: Directorate General for Health
DDASS: Departmental Directorate of Health and Social Affairs
DHOS: Directorate of Hospitalization and Organization of Care
ECHR: European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
EGE: European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Union
ESHRE: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
FIVNAT: computerized national files of IVF-ET activities
FFER: French federation for the Study of Reproduction
GAEIB (European Commission) Group of Advisers on the Ethical Implications of Biotechnology
GEDO: Group of study of oocyte donation
GEFF: study group of in vitro fertilization in France, now comprising ART clinicians
GIFT: Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer
GMO: genetically modified organism
GPA: Surrogacy
HESC: human embryonic stem cell
HFEA: Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority
HFME: hôpital femme-mère-enfant (hospital woman-mother-child)
HIV : human immunodeficiency virus
IBC: International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO
iPSC: stem cells induced to pluripotency
ICSI: intracytoplasmic sperm injection: in vitro fertilization assisted by the injection of sperm into the cytoplasm of the oocyte
IFREARES: French institute of research and applied studies on reproduction and sexology
INRA: National Institute of Agronomic Research IUI: intra uterine insemination
INSERM: National Institute of Health and Medical Research
ITG: interruption of pregnancy for therapeutic reasons
IUI-D: intra uterine insemination with sperm from a donor
IVG: interruption of pregnancy voluntarily
IVF: in vitro fertilization
IVF-ET: in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (s)
IVF-D: In vitro fertilization with sperm from a donor
MTP: Medical termination of pregnancy
NAC: National AIDS Council
PACS: Civil Solidarity Pact
PGD: preimplantation genetic diagnosis
PND: prenatal diagnosis
POST: Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological
SCF: stem cell factor (ASC : human adult stem cell)
SCNT: somatic cell nuclear transfer
SCPFIV: union of private IVF centers in France
SMR: Society of Reproductive Medicine
STD: sexually transmitted disease
TGI: High Court
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
WHO: World Health Organization