Molecular genetic testing for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency (21-OHD) is offered worldwide and is of importance for differential diagnosis, carrier detection and adequate genetic counseling, particularly for family planning. In 2008 the European Molecular Genetics Quality Network (EMQN) for the first time offered a European-wide external quality assessment scheme for CAH (due to 21-OH deficiency). The interest was great and over the last years at about 60 laboratories from Europe, USA and Australia regularly participated in that scheme. These best practice guidelines were drafted on the basis of the extensive knowledge and experience got from those annually organized CAH-schemes. In order to obtain the widest possible consultation with practicing laboratories the draft was therefore circulated twice by EMQN to all laboratories participating in the EQA-scheme for CAH genotyping and was updated by that input. The present guidelines address quality requirements for diagnostic molecular genetic laboratories, as well as criteria for CYP21A2 genotyping (including carrier-testing and prenatal diagnosis). A key aspect of that article is the use of appropriate methodologies (e.g., sequencing methods, MLPA (multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification), mutation specific assays) and respective limitations and analytical accuracy. Moreover, these guidelines focus on classification of variants, and the interpretation and standardization of the reporting of CYP21A2 genotyping results. In addition, the article provides a comprehensive list of common as well as so far unreported CYP21A2-variants.
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