Glossary and Abbreviations



(also bioscience technology) The use of biological systems — living things — to make or change products. It includes both traditional biotechnology such as baking bread, brewing beer and making cheese, and modern biotechnology (also called gene technology) that includes the discovery of genes (genomics), understanding gene functions and interactions (functional genomics), use of DNA markers and genetic modification, which includes controlling gene activity, modifying genes and transferring genes.


Organised structures of DNA and proteins found in cells.

condensed tannins

A component of plant cells that can bind to proteins, which may be useful to prevent bloat and reduce methane emissions.  However, condensed tannins are also regarded as 'antinutritional' compounds that reduce protein digestibilty and palatability.


The proportion of food not excreted in urine and manure that is assumed to be absorbed by the animal.

DNA marker

A known variation in the DNA sequence that researchers can use to identify features if an animal or plant. This includes uses such as confirming the pedigree of the individual and assessing performance (for example, milk production or feed quality).

DNA sequence

The order of nucleotides (units) of DNA.


Dry matter

The material remaining in a biological (fodder or pasture) sample after the water content has been removed.


A naturally-occurring fungus that lives in a symbiotic (win-win) relationship with a host plant, such as ryegrass, obtaining nutrients from it and in return providing protection from insect pests and from overgrazing by animals.


The study of how proteins and other molecules that bind to DNA and chromosomes can change gene expression without changing the DNA sequence.


expression cassette

The genetic package used to create transgenic plants. It is typically made up of one or more genes and the sequences controlling their expression.



The main storage form of sugars in grass plants. CRC activities are seeking to increase the level of stored sugars in leaves so that they can be consumed by livestock

functional genomics

The study of the biological function of genes and their products.



A segment of DNA that carries the instructions for a heritable trait.


gene expression

Process by which heritable information from a gene is made into a functional gene product, such as protein or RNA.


gene silencing

A gene technology method to turn down or switch off the activity of genes.

gene technology

The modern application of biotechnology and includes the discovery of genes (genomics), understanding gene functions and interactions (functional genomics), use of DNA markers and genetic modification, which includes controlling gene activity, modifying genes and transferring genes.



The entire genetic makeup, or all the genes, of an organism. This hereditary information is encoded in the DNA or — for some viruses — the RNA.


genome mapping

Developing a map of the entire genome (genetic makeup) for an individual organism such as a bull, cow, pasture cultivar or endophyte.



The large-scale use of DNA information to estimate the genetic merit of cattle. This includes knowledge of differences in DNA sequences of individual cattle and associating these differences with actual performance


Genetic makeup of an individual.

metabolisable energy

The energy available in feed that can be used by livestock. It is comprised of the energy that can be digested by the animal less energy lost through urine and the production of methane

molecular marker

See DNA marker.



The detailed study of visible traits of characteristics of a plant or animal.



Visible traits or characteristics in an organism.



Large organic compounds made of amino acids. They are essential parts of organisms and participate in every cellular process.


stem cell

A stem cell is an 'unprogrammed' cell that has the potential to develop into a specialised cell, such as muscle cells, nerve cells etc. Among other applications, the CRC is interested in the use of stem cells to generate female-only sperm.


Refers to an organism containing deliberately inserted DNA.

transgenic technologies

Technologies that transfer DNA from one organism to another.

warm-season pasture grasses

Grasses that have a method of photosynthesis that is different to temperate grasses (the C4 pathway) and are common in sub-tropical and tropical environemnets.  Warm-season pasture grasses include paspalum, kikuyu and brachiaria.



Genomic-based Australian Breeding Value


Australian Breeding Value


Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd


Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme


Artificial insemination


Australian Profit Ranking (the Australian national breeding objective)


Australian Selection Index (the genetic selection index for milk production)


Cooperative Research Centre


Dairy Australia


Deoxyribonucleic acid (the key component in the storage of genetic information)


 Department of Environment and Primary Industries


Department of Primary Industries, Victoria


Genetically modified / genetic modification


Genetically modified organism


Cooperative Research Centre for Innovative Dairy Products


Intellectual property


Marker assisted selection (the use of DNA-based markers to make genetic selection decisions)


Office of the Gene Technology Regulator


Polymerase chain reaction (a method of increasing the quantity of DNA for analysis)


Doctor of Philosophy


Quantitative trait locus (a form of variation in DNA sequences)


Ribonucleic acid (a key component of the regulation of genes and synthesis of proteins)


Small-to-medium sized enterprise


(single nucleotide polymorphism): Differences in just one of the DNA base pairs in the genetic sequence, which can affect the functioning of a gene.  SNPs are one form a gene (DNA) marker.


Simple sequence repeat (a form of variation in DNA sequences)


Victorian AgriBiosciences Centre