Usage Tips

  • Use a fast network connection: Wi-Fi or 4G.
  • Keep Wowser updated! Older versions of Wowser can be expected to break as the UCSC Genome Browser evolves over time.
  • Drag or swipe to scroll from side to side or up and down.
  • Pinch and spread to zoom.
  • Tap on entity glyphs for details.
  • Tap-and-hold on entity glyphs to focus/zoom to that glyph, copy the name or location, etc.
  • Tap-and-hold on track titles to change densities or customize track settings (tap on the track title in the contextual menu for track settings and description).
  • Choose from standard UCSC Genome Browser mirrors or define and use a custom mirror in the iOS Settings.
  • If mail has been set up on the iPad, you can share URLs; the session ID is included in the URL, which allows simultaneous use of a web browser (hint: you can use custom tracks in Wowser via this mechanism).
  • Search terms use the same syntax as the UCSC browser.
  • Use as few tracks as needed, both to improve legibility and avoid taxing the device.

Known Limitations

  • Occasional deformed entity glyphs are a known problem; they are still tappable, however.
  • Tracks with legends are not yet supported.
  • The left margin is not yet supported, which affects certain tracks and track display modes.
  • Rarely, with tall tracks, it is possible for the display to sometimes appear blank; panning slightly to left or right will reveal content.


If you encounter a crash or apparently buggy behavior in the Genome Wowser app, try these steps:

  • Press the Home button, then restart Wowser (Wowser is not a "multitasking" app, so it shuts down whenever the Home button is pressed).
  • Check the App Store for Wowser updates.
  • Try the same query in your web browser at the UCSC Genome Browser web site.
  • If all else fails, you can help by reporting the problem (see Support, next).

Contact Support

Content: contact the UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Group

All content downloaded and displayed by Genome Wowser is compiled and published by the Genome Bioinformatics Group, a cross-departmental team within the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). We defer all inquiries for support of that content to the UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Group. You should double-check the query at the UCSC Genome Browser web site before concluding that there is a content problem.

iPad Application: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The iPad user interface was developed by CBMi. Contact us for these and other application-specific issues:

  • User interface bugs
  • Errors or omissions in the content relative to the UCSC Genome Browser web site
  • Requests for additional functionality (after referring to the Roadmap below)


The following feature changes, among others, are being considered for future implementation:

  • Add support for custom tracks (via standard UCSC Genome Browser mechanism)
  • Add support for the UCSC Genome Browser's left margin
  • Add customized keyboard for entering sequence positions: would include "chr", "x", and "y" keys, ability to use "k" and "m" units
  • Speed up downloads
  • Speed up track and density changes
  • Add persistent zoom, with reload/refresh button
  • Add other zoom gestures: spread-fingered tap and/or double-tap-with-drag
  • Add support for UCSC account authentication

Release History/Change Log

2.1 March 25, 2013
  • numerous bug fixes
  • redesigned track picker
  • new track info display
  • more robust presentation of web pages
  • improved session support
  • improved handling of warnings
  • improved display of disambiguation results
  • legends are now visible
  • improved documentation
  • more tracks available
  • custom hosts may be reached on non-standard ports
  • tracks with legends are now supported
2.0.5 March 8, 2013
  • Improved parsing performance.
  • Improved image caching.
  • Vastly improved multitasking performance.
2.0.4 February 22, 2013
  • Numerous bug fixes.
  • Added support for HTTP authentication.
  • Improved HTML parsing.
  • Improved session management.
2.0.3 October 25, 2012
  • iOS 4 support reintroduced.
  • Minor bug fixes.
  • Fixed contextual menus.
  • Improved appearance of genomes without ideograms.
2.0.2 September 24, 2012
  • iOS 6 support added.
  • iOS 4 support removed.
  • Minor bug fixes.
2.0.1 August 22, 2012
  • Memory management has been improved.
  • Animations are smoother.
  • Numerous bugs fixed; less prone to crashing.
  • Selections in track picker more faithfully represent what UCSC displays.
  • Added setting to disable reset-on-crash feature.
  • Improved support for selections with many subtracks.
  • Improved track menus.
2.0 July 13, 2012
  • All genomes are supported, not just hg19.
  • Custom mirror setting - users can define local or other custom mirror.

    Track settings can be customized from contextual menu

  • Session ID exposed in shared URL; allows simultaneous use of web browser.
  • Search results now span width of screen in portrait orientation (no more warning).
  • Stability improvements (flexible parsing logic)
1.4.2 May 7, 2012
  • Improved compatibility with latest version of UCSC Genome Browser
1.4.1 March 29, 2012
  • Max tracks increased from 9 to 10
  • Added support for 29 additional tracks and/or subtracks (still only hg19 searches)
  • Fixed bug in which repeat masker track was not initially visible
  • Fixed bug in which user could not change snp135Common density
  • Fixed bug in which snp132Common track appeared initially in Squish density as opposed to the requested Dense density
1.4.0 February 9, 2012
  • Added support for ideogram gestures
  • Added optional reporting for further product improvement
  • Removed the restriction on maximum range
1.3.2 November, 2011
  • Improved loading of images while panning in iOS 5
  • Improved memory management
1.3.1 October 27, 2011
  • Improved international behavior; non-comma thousands separators are now accepted in sequence positions. This fixes the problem where zooming would not work in countries using a point or space as the thousands separator.
1.3 October 21, 2011
  • Bug fixes
1.2.1 September 13, 2011
  • Bug fixes
1.2 September 6, 2011
  • Long-press context menus for genes (go to, copy loc, copy name, share, details) and tracks (change densities)
1.1.2 Aug 30, 2011
  • Bug fixes
1.1.1 Aug 3, 2011
  • Bug fixes
1.0.2 May 31, 2011
  • Fix bug relating to new default track
1.0.1 May 24, 2011
  • Fix HTML parsing bug
1.0 May 17, 2011
  • Initial release