Browser extensions are small software programs that enhance the user’s online experience by creating greater browser functionality. Here, I present a Caenorhabditis elegans specific extension for Google Chrome browsers. The software is built from four files: 1) an HTML file called celegansChrome.html that generates the user interface; 2) a JavaScript file called celegansChrome.js that contains objects of C. elegans gene data; 3) a JSON file that contains a manifest of the program contents called manifest.json; and 4) a small image file of a C. elegans hermaphrodite called icon.png that gets loaded into the browser toolbar. The software is freely available at the Google Chrome Web Store by simply clicking the add to Chrome link to load the extension into the browser:

The user can enter a gene common name (e.g., egl-4) and the Chrome extension can provide the user with C. elegans gene data from any website or even while off-line. Often, it’s convenient to retrieve linkage data or interactome data for a specific C. elegans gene while browsing different webpages or reading journal articles online – this extension provides a frictionless interface for the user to retrieve these data without having to open a new tab and search another website or paper for these data. Currently, the extension provides the user with linkage data for C. elegans genes, gene interaction data, human othology data to a C. elegans gene, and also a gene overview using the WormBase (Harris et al., 2014) RESTful API (only this feature requires internet connectivity). The linkage data loaded into the C. elegans Chrome extension was mined from WormMart WS220 (, while the human ortholog data is from the InParanoid program database (Sonnhammer and Ostlund. 2015). The interaction data were downloaded from the WormBase version WS237 ftp site, and the overview of gene data relies on the WormBase RESTful API. The WormBase RESTful API provides access to gene data by creating a URI using standard HTTP requests that is unique to each gene – the unique identifier being a WBID. The C. elegans Chrome extension takes as input the C. elegans gene common name and maps it to the corresponding WBID to generate the unique URI.

This simple browser extension operates as a client-side program (with the exception of the overview option), and thus provides very fast and seamless data retrieval for C. elegans gene data while browsing any site online.


Harris TW, Baran J, Bieri T, Cabunoc A, Chan J, et al., (2014). WormBase 2014: New views of curated biology. Nucleic Acids Res. 42: D789-793.  PubMed

Sonnhammer EL, and Ostlund G, (2015). InParanoid 8: Orthology analysis between 273 proteomes, mostly eukaryotic. Nucleic Acids Res. 43: D234-239.  PubMed

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