As the community of toxicological researchers, risk assessors, and risk managers adopt the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework for organizing toxicological knowledge, the number and diversity of AOPs in the online AOP knowledgebase (KB) continues to grow. To track and investigate this growth, AOPs in the AOP-KB were assembled into a single network. Summary measures on the current state of the AOP-KB and the overall connectivity and structural features of the resulting network were calculated. Our results show that networking the 187 user-defined AOPs currently described in the AOP-KB resulted in the emergence of 9405 unique, previously undescribed, linear AOPs (LAOPs). To investigate patterns in this emerging knowledge, we assembled the AOP-KB network retrospectively by sequentially adding each of the 187 user-defined AOPs and found that the creation of new AOPs that borrowed components from previously existing AOPs in the KB most described emergence of new LAOPs. However, the introduction of nonadjacent key event relationships and cycles among KEs also play key roles in emergent LAOPs. We provide examples of how to identify application-specific critical paths from this large number of LAOPs. Our research shows that the global AOP network may have considerable value as a source of emergent toxicological knowledge. These findings are not only helpful for understanding the nature of this emergent information but can also be used to manage and guide future development of the AOP-KB, and how to tailor this wealth of information to specific applications.

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Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology
Department of Biology

Pollesch, N.L. (Nathan L.), Villeneuve, D.L. (Daniel L.), & O'Brien, J.M. (2019). Extracting and Benchmarking Emerging Adverse Outcome Pathway Knowledge. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology, 168(2), 349–364. doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfz006