Glossary of terms used in COT reports beginning with O

Last updated: 27 November 2020

Odds ratio (OR): The odds of disease in an exposed group divided by the odds of disease in an unexposed group.

Oedema: Excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues.

Oestrogen: (See estrogen)

Oligonucleotide: A molecule made up of a small number of nucleotides, typically fewer than 25.

‘Omics’ technologies: A scientific subdiscipline that combines the technologies of genomics and bioinformatics to identify and characterise mechanisms of action of known and suspected toxicants. The collective term ‘omics’ refers to the genomic (DNA sequence analysis) and post-genomic (e.g. transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, epigenomics) technologies that are used for the characterisation and quantitation of pools of biological molecules (e.g. DNA, mRNAs, proteins, metabolites), and the exploration of their roles, relationships and actions within an organism.

Oncogene: A gene which is associated with the development of cancer (see proto-oncogene).

Organochlorine: A group of chemical compounds, containing multiple chlorine atoms, that are usually of concern as environmental pollutants. Some organochlorines have been manufactured as pesticides or coolants and others arise as contaminants of manufacturing processes or incineration.