Chemical biology approach enables us to understand the complex biological systems using small molecules such as specific activator or inhibitor of protein, hormone-like inducer and neurotransmitter, etc. To clear the relationships among chemicals and the effect of ascidian development, we reviewed past articles have described the use of small chemicals in the field of ascidian biology. Here we show Ascidians Chemical Biological Database (ACBD), which is a database for studying both chemicals and ascidians. In ACBD, currently more then 800 articles from 1970 to 2009 are integlated and annotated.
Recently, methods for whole-animal chemical screening are used to identify chemicals in laboratory animals for possible adverse effects in humans. Traditionally, vertebrates (rats, mice, and zebrafish) are the preferred animal models for these studies. However, the screening speed can be slowed down due to the number of vertebrates available and also vertebrates are relatively expensive. Ascidian is a small chordate animal and more than thousands of eggs can be prepared from one mature adult for free. Moreover, tadpole-like larva grows up within 18 hours.
Such advantage of ascidian have the possibility of a model organism for the whole-animal chemical screening.