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Sep 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 15)

Animal Toxin Database

  • Simple site design, multiple ways to browse database
  • Some pages took a while to load, should provide introduction to site organization

Although the name of this site could double for an extermination service, you won’t find any rat poison or cockroach sprays here. Rather, this website deals with toxins produced by animals, which oftentimes serve as valuable tools for researchers. A product of the College of Life Sciences at the Hunan Normal University, the Animal Toxin Database boasts an impressive 3,844 toxins from 441 species, as well as a new dataset featuring 55,022 toxin-ion channel interactions. One may browse the database by interaction, toxin, or channel, but I found the “ontology” section most interesting.  With this option, one can peruse toxins (by category, pathogenesis, target, or symptom) or ion channels (by classification, distribution, pharmacology, or physiology).  Some aspects of the site’s organization are not cleanly delineated, but all in all the Animal Toxin Database is a simple, informative resource.

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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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