Genetic counseling in Angelman syndrome: the challenges of multiple causes

Am J Med Genet. 1998 Apr 28;77(1):54-9.


The causal heterogeneity of Angelman syndrome (AS) makes providing information regarding recurrence risk both important and challenging, and may have a dramatic impact on reproductive decision-making for the nuclear and extended family. Most cases of AS result from typical large de novo deletions of 15q11-q13, and are expected to have a low (<1%) risk of recurrence. AS due to paternal uniparental disomy (UPD), which occurs in the absence of a parental translocation, is likewise expected to have a <1% risk of recurrence. Parental transmission of a structurally or functionally unbalanced chromosome complement can lead to 15q11-q13 deletions or to UPD and will result in case-specific recurrence risks. In instances where there is no identifiable large deletion or UPD, the risk for recurrence may be as high as 50% as the result of either a maternally inherited imprinting center (IC) mutation or a ubiquitin-protein ligase (UBE3A) gene mutation. Individuals with AS who have none of the above abnormalities comprise a significant proportion of cases, and some may be at a 50% recurrence risk. Misdiagnoses, as well, can be represented in this group. In light of the many conditions which are clinically similar to AS, it is essential to address the possibility of diagnostic uncertainty and potential misdiagnosis prior to the provision of genetic counseling. Summaries of the different causal classes of AS as an algorithm for determination of recurrence risks are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angelman Syndrome / classification
  • Angelman Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pedigree