DNA sequencesGlobal Gene Corp and the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) have launched a beacon for Indian genomics data, an online web service to enable straightforward data sharing between research institutes.

Professor Ewan Birney, Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) said: “I am delighted to see India lighting a Beacon and contributing to this global endeavour for better health.”

“The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health aims to help researchers and clinicians improve the wellbeing of people throughout the world by making it easier for them to access healthcare data responsibly. India’s size and diversity will enrich these datasets, substantially expanding the potential for discovery.”

Established by GA4GH, the Beacon project is a simple public web service that any institution can implement for sharing genomic information. The service responds to simple genomic queries of the form “do you have any genomes with an ‘A’ at position 100,735 on chromosome 3?” (or similar) with either a yes or a no. 

The aim of the ggcINDIA Beacon is to address the gap in shared Indian genomics data, giving scientists a more broad understanding of disease as well as the opportunity to develop more effective drug delivery systems and therapeutics. More than 60 per cent of the world’s population, including the majority of the Asian and African populations, is almost completely unrepresented by currently available genomic data. India is home to 20 per cent of the world’s population and yet contributes less than 0.2 per cent of the genomics data currently available.

“I am delighted to inaugurate the ggcINDIA beacon, an excellent example of a truly global collaboration, in particular the UK-India-Singapore partnership,” said Dinesh Patnaik, Deputy High Commissioner of India.

“Genomics is the science that will define healthcare in our lifetime. Solving healthcare problems at scale is exceptionally important for India to ensure quality of life for our 1.3 billion citizens. Cutting-edge genomics will provide truly innovative solutions that will benefit individuals and the population as a whole.”