The latest special issue of the journal Cell Genomics features a collection of perspective, opinion, Q&A and technical papers dedicated to the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). This represents a massive collaborative endeavour to sum-up the purpose and advances of the worldwide initiative to accelerate biomedical advances by enabling the responsible sharing of clinical and genomic data, and to which several SIB Members have contributed.

The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) takes center stage in the second issue of the new journal, Cell Genomics, published in Gold Open Access, with a collection of perspective, opinions, Q&A and technical papers about the initiative.

" … the current landscape of resources and research in this area is highly fragmented, does not reflect the whole range of relevant diseases, and lacks a balanced representation of populations from all over the world. The GA4GH principle of federated, globally inclusive approaches to genomic and health has proven successful…" says Group Leader Michael Baudis (University of Zurich) in the “Voices” feature of the issue. Michael Baudis is a member of the steering committee of GA4GH, co-lead of the Discovery work stream and co-project champion for the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) and the ELIXIR Beacon driver projects.

In the perspective paper, titled “GA4GH: International policies and standards for data sharing across genomic research and healthcare,” over 200 co-authors from the GA4GH contributor community, including SIB’s Michael Baudis, Alexander Kanitz (University of Basel), Sabine Österle (Personalized Health Informatics Group) and Torsten Schwede (University of Basel), present the organization’s strategies for addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the genomic data revolution. The authors dive into the GA4GH toolkit of secure, interoperable technical standards and policy frameworks, their relevance to key domains of research and clinical care, and the organization’s future plans.

Find out the organization’s perspective on the concept of a federated approach to connect national genomics initiatives into a global network and precision medicine resource, in a commentary piece “International Federation of Genomic Medicine Databases Using GA4GH Standards”, co-authored by Michael Baudis.

“The issue marks an important moment for the organization, as we move toward more mature standards that are beginning to see wide adoption across the globe,” said Ewan Birney, Chair of GA4GH, Deputy Director General of EMBL.

 Read the full GA4GH announcement