A glossary distills complex words and ideas down to their essence. The Broad’s glossary is designed to explain terms used in biomedical research in order to enhance the understanding of the work we and others do in the pursuit of transforming medicine.


A SNP (or single nucleotide polymorphism) is a single-letter change in DNA that contributes to the genetic variation in a population, creating diversity.


Mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses nestled inside your cells that are converting food and oxygen into a form of energy that your body can use.


Chromosomes are the parcels of genetic material that are passed down from parents to children and together contain the full set of inherited instructions that an embryo receives.


A transposon (or "jumping gene") is a small piece of DNA that inserts itself into another place in the genome, potentially interrupting the normal spelling of DNA and creating mutations that may turn genes on or off.


An oncogene is an abnormal version of a gene that drives uncontrolled cell growth associated with cancer.


A genome is the full set of instructions needed to make every cell, tissue, and organ in your body.

Transcription Factor

A transcription factor is a protein that helps control which genes are turned on or off in the genome.

Tumor suppressor gene

Tumor suppressor genes are the safeguards of the cell, preventing abnormal cells from developing into full-blown tumors.