Glossary: Understanding blood and its components

Cytokine: a small protein (e.g. interferon, interleukin) secreted by cells in the immune system, which act as a signal to the cells around them to behave differently

Differentiation: the process by which cells change to acquire specialized features that serve a specific function

Flow cytometry: an analytical cell-biology technique that utilises light to identify, separate and characterise cells in a heterogeneous fluid mixture containing live cells. In addition, antibodies tagged with fluorescent dyes, and raised against highly specific cell surface antigens (e.g. clusters of differentiation markers), can be used to better identify and separate subpopulations of cells within a larger group.

Granulocyte :a type of white blood cell that has granules in its cytoplasm (e.g. basophil, eosinophil, neutrophil)

Haematopoiesis: blood cell development

Next-generation sequencing: also known as high-throughput sequencing, is the term used to describe a number of different gene sequencing technologies

Oligopotency: the ability of a cell to differentiate into several other cell types

Progenitor cell: a cell that can differentiate into several types of cell and is pushed to differentiated into its target cell. (It is usually more limited than a stem cell in the kinds of cells it can become)

Thrombocytopenia: low platelet count

Transcription factor: a protein that controls the rate of conversion of genetic information in DNA into messenger RN

Transdifferentiation: the conversion of one cell type into another without going through an oligopotent cell state

Unipotency: capable of giving rise to only one cell type

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