Navigating the human genome with software that you can view on an iPad sounds pretty impressive, until perhaps you reflect that nature has already encoded trillions of copies of this in your chromosomes. Then again, printing that data using ink and paper would produce a mind-staggering pile of pagesso viewing it on an iPad may be impressive after all.
Now the Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMi) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has created Genome Wowser, an app for exploring genomic information that is convenient, intuitive and highly mobile. Anyone with an iPad can download the app for free from the iTunes App StoreSM on the internet. Using Genome Wowser, a researcher can traverse the human genome just like planning a travel route on Google Maps.
A common use for the tool is to enter the name of a gene in Wowser's search box. The app finds the gene on one of the 23 human chromosomes, displaying an interactive image of its precise location among the genome's 3 billion base pairs.
Also included are annotations contributed by researchersnotes about each gene's known or suspected biological functions, and about identified mutations and variants of the gene. Users can find information about neighboring genes or about epigeneticshow a gene's functions are modified when chemicals attach or separate from exposed sections of DNA. Touching the screen (pinching and spreading) allows a user to zoom in or out of the chromosome region.
Genome Wowser's name plays on the name of the data source that it emulatesthe venerable UCSC Genome Browser, a website established in 2000 at the University of California Santa Cruz that serves as a popular worldwide data repository and genome exploration tool for human genome data. This information is constantly being updated as scientists uncover new gene data.
"We feel that Genome Wowser provides immediacy to the human genome," said Peter White, Ph.D., director of CBMi. "With t
|Contact: John Ascenzi|
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia