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The GA4GH Beacon specification is composed by two parts:

The Beacon Framework (in Framework repo ) is the part that describes the overall structure of the API requests, responses, parameters, the common components, etc. It could also be referred in this document as simply the Framework.

Beacon Models (in the Models repo ) describes the set of concepts included in a Beacon version (e.g. Beacon v2), like individual or biosample, and also the relationships between them. It could also be referred in this document as simply the Model.

The Framework could be considered the syntax and the Model as the semantics.

Refer to the Framework for further information about the Framework and its parts.

A beacon instance is just an implementation of a Beacon Model that follows the rules stated by the Beacon Framework.

Beacon default model vs. beacon instances

While the Beacon default model provides templates for responses and formats for uniform data delivery - especially for networked beacons - it does not prescribe how data should be organised in individual instances or what schemas should be used for local storage.

If you are a Beacon implementer, then, you don't need to clone the Framework repo, you only need to copy (or clone) the Beacon Model and modify it to your specific case. You will find plenty of references to the Framework in the Model copy, and you will use the Json schemas there to validate that both the structure of your requests and responses are compliant with the Beacon Framework. The Framework is not used to check the schema in the responses payload (e.g. the actual details of a biosample of a cohort). The schemas for that are included in the Model that you should have copied.

classDiagram analyses <-- genomicVariations : 1..n runs <-- analyses : 1..n biosamples <-- runs : 1..n individuals <-- biosamples : 1..n runs <.. genomicVariations : 1..n biosamples <.. genomicVariations : 1..n individuals <.. genomicVariations : 1..n biosamples <.. analyses : 1..n individuals <.. analyses : 1..n individuals <.. runs : 1..n cohorts o-- individuals : m..n datasets o-- genomicVariations : 1..n class genomicVariations{ analysisId runId biosampleId individualId variation clinicalInterpretations caseLevelData ... } class analyses{ id runId biosampleId individualId analysisDate pipelineName aligner ... } class biosamples{ id individualId biosampleStatus sampleOriginType histologicalDiagnosis collectionDate ... } class individuals{ id sex diseases phenotypicFeatures ethnicity pedigrees ... } class runs{ id biosampleId individualId runDate librarySource libraryStrategy platform ... } class datasets{ id name description dataUseCondition info updateDateTime ... } class cohorts{ id name cohortType cohortSize cohortDataTypes cohortDesign ... }

Beacon v2 Models entities and their relationships

The above entities are defined as follows;

  • Collections (Datasets and Cohorts): groupings of variants or individuals that share something in common: e.g., who belong to the same repository (datasets) or study populations (cohorts).
  • Genomic variations: unique genomic alterations, e.g., position in a genome, sequence alterations, type, etc.
  • Individuals: either patients or healthy controls whose details (including phenotypic and clinical) are stored in the repository.
  • Biosamples: samples taken from individuals, including details of procedures, dates and times.
  • Analyses & Runs: details on (a) procedures used for sequencing a biosample (runs), and (b) bioinformatic procedures to identify variants (analyses)

Beacon v1 Model: Repo

Provided as an example for Beacon v1 implementers that want to update to Beacon v2 but not planning to add any additional entry type to their Beacon.