The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) develops standards and guidelines to facilitate the international sharing of genomic and health related metadata. The creation of GA4GH work stream products is moved forward through driver projects, which address particular scientific, technical, regulatory or security related aspects of data access and sharing.
Originally developed following the first GA4GH plenary in 2014, the “Beacon” concept originally tested the willingness of genome resources to allow simple web-based queries against aggregated genome variant data. This particular model established the foundation for automated queries against world-wide data resources, using a unified protocol. Additionally, the Beacon project provided an intentional challenge to existing notions of data security and privacy protection and jump-started the development of risk assessment and mitigation scenarios.
Since 2016, development and implementation of the Beacon protocol have been managed through the ELIXIR-Beacon GA4GH driver project. Recent extensions to the Beacon protocol provide real-world utility for genome resource access under different usage scenarios.
With its support for developing the Beacon protocol and distributing it throughout its members, ELIXIR is providing one of the first, widespread implementations of a GA4GH related products. The current version of the Beacon protocol one of the first official standards which underwent the GA4GH product approval process, facilitating widespread international adoption. The presentation will address current status and future roadmap of the Beacon protocol and discuss implementations by ELIXIR members.