Genomics England, as part of its 100,000 Genomes Project, is turning to crowdsourcing to help develop gene panels to diagnose some 130 rare diseases. PanelApp, as the tool has been dubbed, creates evidence-based gene panels for rare diseases that can be downloaded and viewed by anyone.

By calling on rare disease experts from around the world to review the panels, Genomics England hopes to validate and standardize the genes used to diagnose specific rare diseases. We spoke to Ellen McDonagh, lead scientific curator at Genomics England about PanelApp, why the organization has decided to use this crowdsourcing approach, and what it ultimately hopes to accomplish.

RARECast is a weekly series by Daniel S. Levine. Levine is an award-winning business journalist who has reported on the life sciences, economic development, and business policy issues throughout his 25-year career. He founded Levine Media Group in 2013, which produces The Bio Report and RARECast podcasts. Read his full bio here. 

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