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of terms related to the biodiversity




Non-living; devoid of life.


A sample of a crop variety collected at a specific location and time; may be of any size.

accident (accidental)

Any incident involving a significant and unintended release of genetically modified microorganisms in the course of their contained use which could present an immediate or delayed hazard to human heath and the environment.

accidental release

The unintentional discharge of a microbiological agent (i.e., microorganism or virus) or eukaryotic cell due to a failure in the containment system.


A genetically determined characteristic that enhances the ability of an organism to cope with its environment.

adaptation traits

Complex of traits related to reproduction and survival of the individual in a particular production environment. Adaptation traits contribute to individual fitness and to the evolution of animal genetic resources. By definition, these traits are also important to the ability of the animal genetic resource to be sustained in the production environment.

adaptive radiation

Evolutionary diversification of species derived from a common ancestor into a variety of ecological roles.

adaptive zone

A particular type of environment requiring unique adaptation then allowing adaptive radiation to occur.

advanced informed agreement

Advanced informed agreement refers to the principle that international exchange of transgenic plants and microorganisms that could adversely affect plants should not proceed without the informed agreement of, or contrary to the decision of, the competent authority in the recipient country.

Agenda 21 from the UN conference on environment and development

Agenda 21 is the framework for activity into the 21st century addressing the combined issues of environment protections and fair and equitable development for all. Agenda 21 provides a specific framework for many aspects of the UNEP programme. The agenda comprises 40 chapters each addressing specific aspects of these issues.

agrobiodiversity, agricultural biodiversity, agricultural biological diversity

- The genetic variation existing among the species, breeds (breed), cultivars (cultivar)and individuals of animal, plant and microbial species that have been domesticated, often including their immediate wild relatives (wild relative). - That component of biodiversity that contributes to food and agriculture production. The term agrobiodiversity encompasses within-species, species and ecosystem diversity.


The research on and development of agricultural products such as crop varieties and crop protection products by modifying genes(gene) to confer desirable properties such as pest resistance or improved nutritional profiles.


The use of ecological concepts and principles to study, design, and manage agricultural systems. Agroecology seeks to evaluate the full effect of system inputs and outputs by integrating cultural and environmental factors into the analysis of food production systems and to use this knowledge to improve these systems, taking into account the needs of both the ecosystem as a whole and the people within it.


A collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (tree, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land management unit as agricultural crops and/or animals, either in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence.

alien species

- A species that has been transported by human activities, intentional or accidental, into a region where it does not naturally occur. (Also known as an exotic, introduced, nonindigenous, or nonnative species.) - A species occurring in an area outside of its historically known natural range as a result of intentional or accidental dispersal by human activities. (Also known as an exotic or introduced species.)


- One of several alternatives of a gene. - Any of the different versions of a gene occupying a particular locus (place) on a chromosome. - One of two or more forms of a gene arising by mutation and occupying the same relative position (locus) on homologous chromosomes.


(opp.: sympatric) Occupying different geographical ranges.

allopatric speciation

Speciation through geographically separated populations(population).


The annual migratory behavior of adult fish - such as salmon and lamprey - from the ocean into freshwater rivers and lakes in order to spawn.

animal genetic resources databank

A databank that contains inventories of farm animal genetic resources and their immediate wild relatives, including any information that helps to characterize these resources.

animal genome (gene) bank

A planned and managed repository containing animal genetic resources. Repositories include the environment in which the genetic resource has developed, or is now normally found (in situ) or facilities elsewhere (ex situ - in vivo or in vitro). For in vitro, ex situ genome bank facilities, germplasm is stored in the form of one or more of the following: semen, ova, embryos and tissue samples.


The absence of oxygen in water and sediments.


An antimicrobial compound produced by living micro-organisms, used therapeutically or sometimes prophylactically in the control of infectious diseases. Over 4,000 antibiotics have been isolated, but only about 50 have achieved wide use.


Breeding and rearing fish, shellfish, etc., or growing plants for food in special ponds.


The animal phylum comprised of crustaceans, spiders, mites, centipedes, insects, and related forms. The largest of the phyla, containing more than three times the number of all other animal phyla combined.

artificial insemination

A breeding technique, most commonly used in domestic animals and sometimes in captive breeding of wild animals, in which semen is introduced into the female reproductive tract by artificial means.

artificial selection

Selective breeding, carried out by humans, to produce a desired evolutionary response.

asexual reproduction

Reproduction of a plant or animal without fusion of male and female gamete. It includes vegetative propagation, cell and tissue culture.


(see: bioassay) A technique that measures a biological response; the determination of the activity or concentration of a chemical.


Goods that provide a flow of services over time.


All of the birds found in a given area.

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