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characterizing a physical system.
Stationary state (or steady state) A state of a dynamical system in which
the time derivatives of all the independent variables vanish. It is
equivalent to a ¬xed point of the system.
Stem cell A cell in an embryo or adult tissue that is capable of dividing
asymmetrically so as to produce both another stem cell and a cell
committed to differentiating into one or more specialized cell types.
Stokes™ formula The mathematical expression for the force acting on a
spherical particle moving with a given velocity in a viscous ¬‚uid. It is
derived from the Navier--Stokes equation.
Storage modulus (G ) One of the physical parameters characterizing a
viscoelastic material, namely, its capacity to store elastic energy.
Strain A relative deformation caused by stress (such as the relative
elongation of a wire under tension).
Strange attractor An attracting region in the multidimensional
state space of a dynamical system. Once the system arrives in this region
GLOSSARY 289


it wanders within it in a random fashion without ever leaving it (cf. limit
cycle).
Stress force A force acting on a unit area of a material in a particular
direction (e.g., a shear force acting parallel to the surface).
Surface tension The interfacial tension between a liquid and a vacuum or
air.
Syncytium A cell in which many nuclei are contained in a common
cytoplasm.
Telophase The terminal stage of mitosis or meiosis in which chromosomes
decondense, the spindle breaks down, and nuclear membranes form
around the daughter nuclei.
Thermal energy The energy possessed by an object as a consequence of its
being at nonzero absolute temperature.
Thermal velocity The randomly oriented velocity of a molecule associated
with its thermal energy.
Tight junction A junctional complex between two epithelial cells, located
near their apical surfaces, that both plays a barrier role and is a locus of
intercellular signaling.
Totipotent cell A cell, e.g., the zygote or a blastomere, capable of giving
rise to all an organism™s cell types, including those of extraembryonic
tissues.
Transcription The process by which a sequence of RNA is synthesized from
a DNA template.
Transcription factor A member of any one of several classes of proteins
that bind to promoter regions of speci¬c DNA sequences (transcriptional
units) and participate in the control of their rates of transcription.
Transgenic organism An organism that has incorporated into its
somatic and germline cells a DNA sequence characteristic of a different
species.
Tripoblast A category of animal generated from an embryo with three
germ layers, ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm.
Turing mechanism A dynamical system involving reaction and diffusion
in which there is a bifurcation from a spatially uniform to a spatially
nonuniform stationary solution.
Tyrosine kinase A protein kinase that attaches a phosphate group to a
tyrosine side chain of its target protein.
Unstable fixed point A ¬xed point of a dynamical system that repels
trajectories in the vector ¬eld.
Yolk Nutritive material stored in an ovum, generally consisting of various
phosphoproteins, glycoproteins, lipoproteins, and polysaccharides.
Yolk sac An extra-embryonic membrane in birds and mammals. In avian
embryos it surrounds the yolk.
Young™s equation The equation that expresses the equilibrium condition
of contacting ¬‚uids and their substrata, a consequence of Newton™s second
law.
Young™s modulus A material property that characterizes the response of an
elastic material to tension.
Vector field A map that assigns a vector function (with magnitude and
direction) to each point in the state space of a dynamical system and thus
de¬nes all possible trajectories of the system through its state space.
Vegetal pole The point on the surface of a telolecithal (i.e., having
nonuniform distribution of yolk) egg or early embryo at the center of the
290 GLOSSARY


hemisphere containing the yolk (in the case of an egg) or yolky cells (in
the case of an embryo); it lies opposite to the animal pole.
Ventral Referring to the underside, or belly, of an organism or embryo.
Viscosity A characteristic physical property of ¬‚uids arising from
molecular friction (due to the adhesive interaction between the
molecules), which gives rise to their resistance to ¬‚ow.
Viscoelastic material A substance that manifests simultaneously elastic
and viscous liquid behavior (such as a gel).
Vitelline membrane The extracellular matrix of an unfertilized egg; also
called the zona pellucida and the shell membrane.
Wild-type A reference sequence for a particular gene, usually the one most
commonly found outside the laboratory.
Work of adhesion The effort required to separate distinct bounding
substances across a unit area of their contact.
Work of cohesion The effort required to separate the molecules of a
substance so as to produce two free surfaces (i.e., interfaces with the
embedding medium) of unit area.
Zygote The fertilized egg or ovum; the earliest embryonic stage of a
diploid organism.
Zona pellucida The vitelline membrane of mammalian eggs.
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