Article Text

Original article
Canadian Open Genetics Repository (COGR): a unified clinical genomics database as a community resource for standardising and sharing genetic interpretations
  1. Jordan Lerner-Ellis1,2,
  2. Marina Wang3,
  3. Shana White4,5,
  4. Matthew S Lebo4,6,
  5. and the Canadian Open Genetics Repository Group
    1. 1Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto & Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. 2Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    3. 3Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    4. 4Laboratory for Molecular Medicine, Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
    5. 5Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    6. 6Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    1. Correspondence to Jordan Lerner-Ellis, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto & Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X5; jlerner-ellis{at}


    Background The Canadian Open Genetics Repository is a collaborative effort for the collection, storage, sharing and robust analysis of variants reported by medical diagnostics laboratories across Canada. As clinical laboratories adopt modern genomics technologies, the need for this type of collaborative framework is increasingly important.

    Methods A survey to assess existing protocols for variant classification and reporting was delivered to clinical genetics laboratories across Canada. Based on feedback from this survey, a variant assessment tool was made available to all laboratories. Each participating laboratory was provided with an instance of GeneInsight, a software featuring versioning and approval processes for variant assessments and interpretations and allowing for variant data to be shared between instances. Guidelines were established for sharing data among clinical laboratories and in the final outreach phase, data will be made readily available to patient advocacy groups for general use.

    Results The survey demonstrated the need for improved standardisation and data sharing across the country. A variant assessment template was made available to the community to aid with standardisation. Instances of the GeneInsight tool were provided to clinical diagnostic laboratories across Canada for the purpose of uploading, transferring, accessing and sharing variant data.

    Conclusions As an ongoing endeavour and a permanent resource, the Canadian Open Genetics Repository aims to serve as a focal point for the collaboration of Canadian laboratories with other countries in the development of tools that take full advantage of laboratory data in diagnosing, managing and treating genetic diseases.

    • Genetic screening/counselling
    • Clinical genetics
    • Diagnostics tests
    • Evidence Based Practice
    • Genetics

    This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    Supplementary materials

    • Supplementary Data

      This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.

      Files in this Data Supplement: