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Angelman Syndrome Genetic Testing

Test performed by: LabPLUS - Dept. Diagnostic Genetics - Molecular Genetics

Referral Requirements

Important Note:

Diagnostic testing requires referral through Paediatrics, Neurology or Genetic Services.

Familial testing requires referral through Genetic Services.


Genetic Health Service NZ can be contacted on 0800 476 123.

General Paediatrics can be contacted on (09) 307 4949 ext. 22559.

Neurology can be contacted on (09) 307 4949 ext. 25662.

Specimen Collection
EDTA4 mL Paediatric EDTA Blood (Preferred)
EDTA8 mL Adult EDTA Blood


A minimum of 0.5ml can be processed. However, sufficient DNA for downstream testing cannot be guaranteed if less than 4.0ml blood is collected.

Transport all bloods at room temperature within 24-48 hours. If necessary specimens can be refrigerated overnight for transport at room temperature the following day.

For testing of other sample types please contact the laboratory prior to sending.

Turnaround Time: Within 6 weeks
Contact Information

Contact Molecular Genetics via:

Lablink                                                     ext 22000

Mark Greenslade (Technical Head)   ext 22010

Pippa Grainger (Section leader)              ext 22014

Email: DGen@adhb.govt.nz

Background Information

Angelman syndrome (AS) is characterised by severe developmental delay or mental retardation, severe speech impairment, gait ataxia and/or tremulousness of the limbs, and a unique behaviour with an inappropriate happy demeanour that includes frequent laughing, smiling, and excitability. In addition, microcephaly and seizures are common. Developmental delays are first noted at around age six months; however, the unique clinical features of AS do not become manifest until after age one year, and it can take several years before the correct clinical diagnosis is obvious.

AS is caused by the loss of the maternally imprinted contribution in the 15q11.2-q13 AS/Prader-Willi syndrome region that can occur by one of at least five different known genetic mechanisms. The risk to sibs of a proband depends on the genetic mechanism of the loss of the maternally contributed AS/PWS region: typically less than 1% for probands with a deletion or uniparental disomy (UPD); as high as 50% for probands with an imprinting defect mutation (ID) or a mutation of UBE3A. Members of the mother's extended family are also at increased risk when an ID or a UBE3A mutation is present.

Genetic testing identifies alterations in approximately 90% of individuals:

The remaining 10% of individuals with classic phenotypic features of AS have a presently unidentified genetic mechanism and thus are not amenable to diagnostic testing.

When the DNA methylation test is normal, UBE3A sequence analysis should be considered for individuals with clinical features of AS. The vast majority of UBE3A mutations result in (or predict) protein truncation without evidence of any hot spot location. It is possible that individuals with milder mutations (e.g., missense and mild promoter mutations) may show some, but not all, of the clinical features associated with AS. A few individuals with AS have been found to have complete or partial deletions of UBE3A, or to have intragenic deletions.

Methylation and UBE3A testing  is available.

For more information about the Molecular Genetics service:

Molecular Genetics information page

Last updated at 15:49:04 22/03/2021