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Dec 01, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 21)

Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD)

  • Expansive database, many ways to search
  • Cluttered site design

The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (phew—say that ten times fast) exists to “illuminate how chemicals affect human health.” It does so by collecting information from the scientific literature that describes links between chemicals, genes and proteins, and human diseases. One may be surprised to find that this database includes all types of chemicals, not just those that are typically perceived as “toxic.” (For instance, one will find naturally occurring chemicals like glucose and fructose in this database.) Users can browse the database by chemicals, diseases, or genes; alternatively, one can search for cross-species chemical-gene interactions, browse genetic pathways, or browse genes by organism. The website design is a bit busy, so it may be difficult to get one’s bearings; however, the site provides a number of example queries to help orient visitors.

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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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