September 1, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 15)
Strong Points: Simple site design, multiple ways to browse database
Weak Points: 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.