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Mutat Res. 2002 Jan 29;499(1):27-52.

Distributed structure-searchable toxicity (DSSTox) public database network: a proposal.

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  • 1US Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Drop 68, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratories, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.


The ability to assess the potential genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, or other toxicity of pharmaceutical or industrial chemicals based on chemical structure information is a highly coveted and shared goal of varied academic, commercial, and government regulatory groups. These diverse interests often employ different approaches and have different criteria and use for toxicity assessments, but they share a need for unrestricted access to existing public toxicity data linked with chemical structure information. Currently, there exists no central repository of toxicity information, commercial or public, that adequately meets the data requirements for flexible analogue searching, Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR) model development, or building of chemical relational databases (CRD). The distributed structure-searchable toxicity (DSSTox) public database network is being proposed as a community-supported, web-based effort to address these shared needs of the SAR and toxicology communities. The DSSTox project has the following major elements: (1) to adopt and encourage the use of a common standard file format (structure data file (SDF)) for public toxicity databases that includes chemical structure, text and property information, and that can easily be imported into available CRD applications; (2) to implement a distributed source approach, managed by a DSSTox Central Website, that will enable decentralized, free public access to structure-toxicity data files, and that will effectively link knowledgeable toxicity data sources with potential users of these data from other disciplines (such as chemistry, modeling, and computer science); and (3) to engage public/commercial/academic/industry groups in contributing to and expanding this community-wide, public data sharing and distribution effort. The DSSTox project's overall aims are to effect the closer association of chemical structure information with existing toxicity data, and to promote and facilitate structure-based exploration of these data within a common chemistry-based framework that spans toxicological disciplines.

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