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Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility

What is SeqAPASS? 

Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility (SeqAPASS), is a fast, online screening tool that allows researchers and regulators to extrapolate toxicity information across species. For some species, such as humans, mice, rats, and zebrafish, the EPA has a large amount of data regarding their toxicological susceptibility to various chemicals. However, the toxicity data for numerous other plants and animals is very limited.   

SeqAPASS extrapolates from these data rich model organisms to thousands of other non-target species to evaluate their specific potential chemical susceptibility. The sensitivity of a species to a chemical is determined by a number of factors, one of which is the presence or absence of proteins that interact with chemicals (“protein targets”), once the chemicals are in the body. Chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides have relatively well-defined protein targets and a majority of these proteins are curated in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) protein database maintained by the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Using this database, SeqAPASS evaluates the similarities of amino acid sequences and protein structure to identify whether a protein target is present for a chemical interaction in other non-target species. These chemical interactions with the protein target could potentially disrupt important biological processes leading to unintended adverse effects on survival, growth, development, and reproduction. This method, for example, can be used to predict whether a pesticide, developed to control a pest species, would affect other, non-target species such as pollinators or protected (threatened or endangered) species.


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