The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) is an international effort to promote, foster and standardize secure, ethical, privacy preserving sharing of genomic information for the betterment of global health outcomes. It has many, many organizations involved, all recognizing the importance of its mission, however it is largely a volunteer effort. To help ensure that it can meet its technical goals we are supporting with engineering effort a GA4GH integration group tasked with implementing and defining the necessary software standards.
Key to this is the creation of genomics Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to allow the exchange of genomic information across multiple organizations. The GA4GH standard is a freely available open standard for interoperability, which uses common web protocols to support the serving and sharing of data about nucleic acid sequences, variation, expression and other forms of genomic data. The API is implemented as a web service to create a data source that may be integrated downstream into visualization software, web-based genomics portals or processed as part of genomic analysis pipelines. Its goal is to overcome the barriers of incompatible infrastructure between organizations and institutions to enable DNA data providers and consumers to better share genomic data and work together on a global scale, advancing genome research and clinical application.