Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New comparative toxicogenomics database

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory has publicly released a prototype of the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD). CTD aims to advance understanding about the impact of environmental chemicals on human health. It is the first database to provide centralized, integrated, and curated molecular and toxicology data from diverse organisms for scientists worldwide.

"It is becoming increasingly well accepted that many diseases involve interactions between environmental factors and genes. We integrate key data from diverse species, such as gene sequences, chemicals, and references, to provide a comparative perspective on gene-chemical interactions. This perspective is critical for understanding molecular mechanisms by which chemicals exert toxicity" according to Dr. Carolyn J. Mattingly, Director of Bioinformatics at MDIBL.

This perspective may also prove to be important for predicting toxicity. Classical studies have demonstrated that even closely related species can have dramatically different responses to chemical exposures. Data provided by CTD will provide insights into the genetic basis of these differences.

The CTD prototype is a community-supported public resource funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. The scientific community is invited to participate in its development by providing feedback or submitting data sets via the website (ctd@mdibl.org).

CTD is being developed at MDIBL. Key participants in this project include Dr. James L Boyer (Principal Investigator) and Dr. John N. Forrest, Jr. (Participating Investigator), both affiliated with MDIBL and the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Carolyn J. Mattingly (Co-Investigator), and Glenn T. Colby and Michael C. Rosenstein (Scientific Software Engineers).

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