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Journal Article

VarWatch-A stand-alone software tool for variant matching


Wienker,  Thomas F.
Clinical Genetics (Thomas F. Wienker), Emeritus Group of Human Molecular Genetics (Head: Hans-Hilger Ropers), Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Broder, F., Marcus, S., Junge, O., Gundlach, S., Ellinghaus, D., Pfeufer, A., et al. (2019). VarWatch-A stand-alone software tool for variant matching. PLoS One, 14(4): e0215618. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215618.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-39E5-8
Massively parallel DNA sequencing of clinical samples holds great promise for the gene-based diagnosis of human inherited diseases because it allows rapid detection of putatively causative mutations at genome-wide level. Without additional evidence complementing their initial bioinformatics evaluation, however, the clinical relevance of such candidate genetic variants often remains unclear. In consequence, dedicated ‘matching’ services have been established in recent years that aim at the discovery of other, comparable case reports to facilitate individual diagnoses. However, legal concerns have been raised about the global sharing of genetic data, particularly in Europe where the recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation EU-2016/679 classifies genetic data as highly sensitive. Hence, unrestricted sharing of genetic data from clinical cases on platforms outside the national jurisdiction increasingly may be perceived as problematic. To allow collaborative data producers, particularly large consortia of diagnostic laboratories, to acknowledge these concerns while still practicing efficient case matching internally, novel tools are required. To this end, we developed VarWatch, an easy-to-deploy and highly scalable case matching software that provides users with comprehensive programmatic tools and a user-friendly interface to fulfil said purpose.