to end the diagnostic odyssey

Birth… the beginning of a family’s story.

But for families of babies born with a rare genetic disease, the story is one fraught with challenges on their journey to an accurate diagnosis and appropriate care.

Imagine if we could change the narrative for those families from the very start.

Newborn in incubator

Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is helping to rewrite the story for infants with rare diseases through BeginNGSTM

BeginNGS is a novel health care delivery system designed to screen newborns for genetic diseases — and connect their doctors with effective treatment options.

Genetic diseases are chronic, progressive, and can be life-threatening. 

They may not appear until later in childhood; however, the effects may begin before symptoms manifest. The effects may be irreversible if not diagnosed and treated.

Sometimes the solution is as simple as a vitamin supplement.

Other times, the baby can receive cutting-edge gene therapy and grow up to be a typical healthy child, like Fitz Kettler, pictured here.

Fitz runs towards the camera

With BeginNGS, the combination of newborn rWGS® and a new treatment guidance system — Genome-to-Treatment (GTRxTM)helps ensure each baby is screened for treatable genetic conditions, and helps physicians provide effective treatment in a timely manner.

What is BeginNGS?

BeginNGS is an RCIGM-led pilot that uses rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) as a screening tool for newborns to identify genetic conditions before infants get sick. The BeginNGS pilot is not about replacing the current biochemical newborn screening approach (for roughly 60 known conditions) – rather, it is a complement to the newborn screening processes and infrastructure that are already in place.

Technological advances in rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) have made it possible to return test results in just a few days at a lower cost.

As our understanding of genetic diseases grows, and the pace of therapeutic innovation accelerates, newborn screening by rWGS may provide a more dynamic way of expanding the number of conditions as new treatments are approved.

Since the whole genome is sequenced, the screening can be rapidly expanded to include new disorders as effective treatments become available.

magnifying glass over a DNA helix


Screening newborns for ~400 genetic diseases with known treatment options using rWGS


Diagnostic Report

Diagnosing rare disease earlier to facilitate access to Rapid Precision Medicine™

Rapid Treatment

Employing Genome-to- Treatment (GTRx) to provide immediate treatment guidelines to clinicians

Stephen Kingsmore

By rewriting the beginning, we can help families end their diagnostic and therapeutic odysseys so they can fill their stories with hope.

— Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc
President & CEO, Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine


Early diagnosis of rare disease patients will open the door to ongoing monitoring of symptoms and gathering of critical natural history data

— Charlene Son Rigby
CEO, Rare-X

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Why Now?

There are over 30 million rare disease patients in the United States and over 5,000 rare disease clinical trials underway. Ending the diagnostic and therapeutic odyssey is finally within our grasp. Without disruptive progress, precision medicine at scale isn’t possible. BeginNGS will help us identify rare disease patients earlier, increase clinical trial enrollment and rapidly progress rare disease treatment.

Join Us

Interested in partnering with us or learning more about the project?

How It Will Work

  • This pilot includes birthing hospitals throughout the U.S. and abroad.

  • Blood-spot samples will be collected at the time of birth and sent to the lab where WGS will be performed.

  • Genomic analysis and interpretation will be performed for ~400 early onset actionable genetic conditions.

  • When a positive screening result is detected, a confirmatory diagnostic test will be completed before a result is returned to the ordering physician.

  • Additionally, physicians will be provided with guidance on appropriate medical management, including all available treatments.

Ready to Learn More?

Upcoming BeginNGS Presentations & Events

2 Results
Jul 11 2022
Reception During the World Orphan Drug Congress Celebrating BeginNGS

BeginNGS Celebration Reception (Boston)

We welcome industry leaders to a reception during the World Orphan Drug Congress in Boston celebrating the launch of the BeginNGS consortium.
Jul 13 2022

World Orphan Drug Congress 2022

Panel: Developing a shared approach to implementing genomic newborn screening to transform the diagnostic and therapeutic odysseys of children with rare
50% Off Registration

Related Publications

Better and Faster is Cheaper

Hum Mutat. 2022 Jun 20. doi: 10.1002/humu.24422. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT The rapid pace of advancement in genomic sequencing technology has recently reached a new milestone, with a record-setting time to molecular diagnosis of a mere eight hours. The catalyst behind this achievement is the accumulation of evidence indicating that quicker results more often make an impact on patient care and lead to healthcare cost savings. Herein, we review the diagnostic and clinical utility of rapid whole genome and rapid whole exome sequencing, the associated reduction in healthcare costs, and the relationship between these outcome measures and time-to-diagnosis. This

The Role of Genome Sequencing in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2022 Jun 8. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genom-120921-103442. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Genetic diseases disrupt the functionality of an infant’s genome during fetal-neonatal adaptation and represent a leading cause of neonatal and infant mortality in the United States. Due to disease acuity, gene locus and allelic heterogeneity, and overlapping and diverse clinical phenotypes, diagnostic genome sequencing in neonatal intensive care units has required the development of methods to shorten turnaround times and improve genomic interpretation. From 2012 to 2021, 31 clinical studies documented the diagnostic and clinical utility of first-tier rapid or ultrarapid whole-genome sequencing through cost-effective

Healthcare Professionals’ Attitudes toward Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing in Pediatric Acute Care

Children. 2022; 9(3):357. Abstract We aimed to characterize knowledge and attitudes about rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) implementation of a broad constituency of healthcare professionals at hospitals participating in a statewide initiative to implement rWGS for hospitalized neonates and children up to 18 years of age meeting clinical criteria for testing. We surveyed 307 healthcare professionals from eight hospitals about their knowledge and attitudes regarding rWGS. We examined survey internal reliability using exploratory factor analysis and associations between respondent characteristics and attitudes toward rWGS with linear regression. We thematically analyzed free-text responses. Views about rWGS implementation in respondents’ own setting

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Questions about BeginNGS?

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World Orphan Drug Congress
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Reception to Celebrate
the Launch of

BeginNGS: NEWBORN GENOMIC SEQUENCING to end the diagnostic odyssey