© 2014 Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. Rare disease registries have now been recognized as a global priority for progress both in monitoring and documenting the natural course, and preventing and treating rare diseases. However, a disease registry is only one element of rare disease translational research. Here, we outline what we believe are ten key components in comprehensive rare disease translational research and describe critical relationships between them. These components are: (i) client-practitioner partnerships; (ii) disease registries; (iii) biobanks; (iv) genomics and other -. omics platforms; (v) community-based and population-wide studies; (vi) bioinformatics and high performance computing; (vii) interactions with pharma to facilitate drug discovery; (viii) personalized treatments based on genotype-phenotype correlations; (ix) eHealth and a whole of life record; and (x) regulatory frameworks, particularly with regard to specimen and data sharing, and the return of results. Each component has its own inherent complexity, but if effectively integrated they will provide a comprehensive approach to the future management of rare diseases, and aid health care providers in delivering services to individuals affected with rare diseases. We demonstrate that navigation through the roadmap can provide relevant health stakeholders with a blueprint to understand the challenges and barriers which need to be overcome within and across the constituent components. The rare disease roadmap will assist decision-making at all health stakeholder levels and enable the seamless integration of new knowledge, standard operating procedures and the implementation of best practice.