Its happened to me several times before. I spend several minutes zooming in on a region of interest and selecting all the tracks I want to see on Genome Browser, but have no great way of sharing the session with a colleague. I usually do a print screen and email a copy of the screenshot, but then they have no way of manipulating the view themselves. I always think in the back of my head that there must be a better way to do this. Well, the good news is there is!
Today I stumbled across a way to generate a URL link to what Genome Browser calls a "session". A session is zoomed in view of a genomic region that contains all the tracks one is interested in. These sessions can easily be saved and then shared with a colleague with a web link. All you really need is a UCSC Genome Browser account. If you don't have one, you can sign up here.
Once you have an account, go to the My Data (or Sessions...depending on what page you are on) tab on the header of the Genome Browser webpage. Click Login and enter your username and password. Then go back to the genome browser and zoom in on your region and pick the tracks you want to display. When you get things picture perfect and ready to share, click on the My Data tab again, and select Sessions. Go to Save Settings and under "Save current settings as named session" insert a name, check the box next to allow this session to be loaded by others, and press submit. This will save the session and under My Sessions you should see the session you just saved. You can right click on the Browser link next to the session name you just created and copy the link address to share with your colleagues. Here is an example I made that displays common SNPs in the 8q24.21 region. Happy URL sharing!
Welcome to the Genome Toolbox! I am glad you navigated to the blog and hope you find the contents useful and insightful for your genomic needs. If you find any of the entries particularly helpful, be sure to click the +1 button on the bottom of the post and share with your colleagues. Your input is encouraged, so if you have comments or are aware of more efficient tools not included in a post, I would love to hear from you. Enjoy your time browsing through the Toolbox.