Adverse Outcome Pathways for Dummies

On September 25, another big step was taken in advancing public understanding of "adverse outcome pathways" (AOPs) by the EPA when it announced the AOP Wiki — an interactive, virtual encyclopedia for the development and evaluation of AOPs.  The new wiki is a module of the AOP-Knowledge Base (and initiative of OECD) and is a collaboration between the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), EPA, and the US Army Engineer Research & Development Center.  The wiki is crowd-sourced, easy-to-understand tool to advance understanding of the AOP framework through which detailed information from multiple levels of biological organization along a source-to-receptor exposure continuum can be organized and analyzed.  For example, important data on a contaminant - which comes from a source and moves through the environment -  that can potentially to do harm to a human receptor can be "mapped" from the molecular level up through tissue, organ and systems to document what data is known and not known (and thus where to focus the necessary data collection to inform the risk assessment) and to inform how the contaminant or its byproduct could advance to some final destination (like a target organ) to cause an adverse outcome (like chronic disease).

AOPs are essentially the backbone to advancing the notion of "21st Century" toxicity testing (Tox21) and integrated testing systems that can be used for the regulation of chemical products to pinpoint where data submission is necessary (and more importantly, where it is not necessary and can spare animal lives. other resources and human labor cost).