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Beacon API specification

What is a Beacon?

The Beacon protocol defines an open standard for genomics data discovery, developed by members of the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health. It provides a framework for public web services responding to queries against genomic data collections, for instance from population based or disease specific genome repositories.

The Beacon protocol has been designed to be:

  • Simple: focus on robustness and easy implementation
  • Federated: maintained by individual organizations and assembled into a network
  • General-purpose: used to report on any variant collection
  • Aggregative: provide a boolean (or quantitative) answer about the observation of a variant
  • Privacy protecting: queries do not return information about single individuals

The main places to find information about the Beracon project are:


The specification is done in OpenAPI format and it is online in Swagger Hub. The overall design is explained in the document.


This project is licensed under the terms of the Apache2.0 license.

How to contribute

Guidelines for contributing to this repository are listed in the document. To introduce new development ideas or enhancements please use this wiki-page.

How to test

Use Swagger Validator Badge to validate the YAML file.


GitHub projects page

All members of the ga4gh-beacon GitHub organisation have access to the projects page.

This page is used to plan and manage the work across the ga4gh-beacon repositories, allowing everyone to see what’s already in motion and to work together without duplicating effort.

Notify GA4GH of potential security flaw in specification

To enable a long-term contact for potential security flaws an email address of has been set up. This email will be monitored by the GA4GH secretariat and GA4GH security members to allow for an incoming response to be directed to appropriate parties.

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