It’s been nearly a decade since scientists completed the Human Genome Project — a scientific marvel that, in its essence, provided the blueprint for the genetic make-up of humans.
A team in the Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMi) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute took all of the information generated from the project and developed a free iPad® app so users can quickly and efficiently navigate the vast information on the human genome.
The app, called Genome Wowser, allows users to traverse the entire human genome — just like planning a travel route on Google Maps. Since its launch, the app has been consistently ranked as a top 10 “What’s Hot” medical app on iTunes, downloaded approximately 7,800 times, with 30,000 app updates by researchers around the world for new versions.
The app can find a searched-for gene on one of the 23 human chromosomes, displaying an interactive image of its precise location among the genome’s 3 billion base pairs. Genome Wowser can also tell users about a gene’s known or suspected biological functions, identified mutations and variants of each gene, or learn how a gene’s functions are modified when chemicals attach or separate from exposed sections of DNA.
“With this app, researchers can now access genomic data from anywhere with minimal effort, and they can immediately explore the genome visually by using the intuitive screen touches and gestures that have made the iPad® platform so powerful,” says CBMi director Peter White, PhD.