What is a Beacon?

Beacon is a global search engine developed by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), that any institute can implement to share genetic data.

It promotes collaboration through sharing of genetic variants.

Beacons play an important role in allowing researchers to discover other potential sources of genetic variation which otherwise would have been locked away and inaccessible due to confidentiality and patient privacy.

Data owners can choose whether it’s appropriate to pursue a request for collaboration by getting the appropriate approvals from patients and thereby adhering to the rules defined by ethics.

How does it work?

Beacons enable the sharing of genetic data by acknowledging the existence of variants—without the need to divulge sensitive patient records—with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response.