This review the status of genetic laboratory testing in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) due to different genetic subtypes, most often a paternally derived 15q11-q13 deletion, with benefits and limitations related to prenatal screening. Medical literature was searched for prenatal screening and genetic laboratory testing methods in use or under development and discussed in relationship to PWS. Genetic testing includes six established laboratory diagnostic approaches for PWS with direct application to prenatal screening. Ultrasonographic, obstetric and cytogenetic reports were summarized in relationship to the cause of Prader-Willi syndrome and identification of specific genetic subtypes including maternal disomy 15. Advances in genetic technology were described for diagnosing PWS specifically DNA methylation and high-resolution chromosomal SNP microarrays as current tools for genetic screening and incorporating next generation DNA sequencing for noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) using cell-free fetal DNA. Positive experiences are reported with NIPT for detection of numerical chromosomal problems (aneuploidies) but not for structural problems (microdeletions). These reports will be discussed along with future directions for genetic screening of PWS. In summary, this review describes and discusses the status of established and ongoing genetic testing options for PWS applicable in prenatal screening including NIPT and future directions for early diagnosis in Prader-Willi syndrome.
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