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ECDYBASE PROJECT HISTORY


ECDYBASE - a free online database of ecdysteroids is a joint project of three scientific institutions: and one internet-oriented company:
The Ecdysone Handbook, originally created by René Lafont and Ian D. Wilson, was published as a hard copy in 1992 (1st Edition) providing general data on almost 170 natural ecdysteroids described so far. Each data file contained biological, chemical, structural, spectroscopic (UV, IR, MS, NMR) and chromatographic data together with selected relevant references. The ecdysteroid family, however, continued to increase in the next years, and the enlarged 2nd Edition was published in 1996 (with 262 compounds). The number of compounds is, however, still growing (e.g., 312 compounds at the onset of 2000), and thus requiring new updated Editions. Owing to the limited number of ecdysteroid specialists interested in such Handbooks, a printed version was no longer justified. Updating the content in the hard copy editions was also a problem. This led to the idea of transforming the Handbook in a Database made freely available on the web to anyone interested in ecdysteroids.
Between that decision and its realization, more than 2 years have elapsed, and the project has involved several additional key contributors. First, Frédéric Marion-Poll (INA-PG, Paris, France) designed in collaboration with several students from the INA-PG the general organization of the database, defining the different fields and their links. Then came the task of converting the original hard copy source data (Pagemaker® files) to the present "Ecdybase". This was mainly done by Juraj Harmatha (Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic) and his son Tomas. The last part of the work was the design of the web interface (done by Tomas Harmatha; Cybersales, a.s.) to create data sheets similar to those of the Handbook. Owing to compatibility problems, all figures had to be redrawn (by J. H.), but in counterpart this provided an opportunity to correct several mistakes from the previous paper editions. The collected previous data with the new updated ones were converted to the "Ecdybase", presented in 2002 at the 15th Ecdysone Workshop, and opened to free access on the URL http://ecdybase.org/.
The present update of the "Ecdybase" includes also data added by Laurence Dinan (University of Exeter, U.K.) on biological activities of ecdysteroids, and also a catalogue of commercial products containing ecdysteroids, with direct links to the homepages of the relevant producers. It is attached a comprehensive compilation of literary reports for the presence of ecdysteroids in various natural sources, too. There were improved also functions allowing a search of compounds by name or partial name (containing a string of at least 3 characters). The search is case-insensitive, thus even an incorrect name transcription would result in a correct search. The present system is allowing also a search by molecular weight, by molecular formula CnxHnyOnz (or selectively by the number of elements Cnx / Onz ), and by occurrence in biological sources (search is again case-insensitive and set on minimum 3 characters, allowing use of partial or incorrect names of species). Search is also available by the name of author (selected from an available list of quoted authors), and by the year of first record. There are in experimental use also electronic forms, enabling to each author his own electronic submission (finally processed by the editors) of additional data for new ecdysteroids or for providing more information on already known ones.

René LAFONT [Rene.Lafont@snv.jussieu.fr]
Juraj HARMATHA [Harmatha@uochb.cas.cz]
Frédéric MARION-POLL [Marion@versailles.inra.fr]
Laurence DINAN [LaurieDinan@fsmail.net]
Ian D. WILSON [I.Wilson@imperial.ac.uk]

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© Université Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris 6, France
© Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
© Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Versailles, France
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