Test Catalog

Test ID: WS7F    
Williams Syndrome, 7q11.23 Deletion, FISH, Varies

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Establishing a diagnosis of Williams syndrome


Detecting cryptic rearrangements involving 7q11.23 that are not demonstrated by conventional chromosome studies

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

This test includes a charge for application of the first probe set (2 FISH probes) and professional interpretation of results. Additional charges will be incurred for all reflex probes performed. Analysis charges will be incurred based on the number of cells analyzed per probe set. If no cells are available for analysis, no analysis charges will be incurred.


Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic disorder that occurs in 1/20,000 to 1/50,000 live births. Although WS is typically a sporadic disorder, familial cases have been reported.


WS is characterized by a variable combination of cardiovascular abnormalities, connective tissue abnormalities, distinct facial features, infantile hypercalcemia, mental retardation, and characteristic social interactions such as extreme friendliness and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Isolated congenital narrowing of the ascending aorta is common in WS patients and results in a separate syndrome called supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS).


WS is a contiguous gene deletion syndrome, caused by deletion of several genes on chromosome 7q. One gene that often is deleted in WS is the elastin gene, which causes SVAS and other cardiovascular disease in these patients. This association was described by Ewart et al (1993) who identified hemizygosity of the elastin gene in WS and SVAS.


The elastin gene, ELN, has been mapped to 7q11.23 (Williams syndrome chromosome region, and is reportedly hemizygous in up to 96% of patients with WS). The deletion of an elastin gene locus cannot be detected by conventional high-resolution chromosome analysis in the vast majority of cases due to the small size of this deletion. Nickerson et al used molecular methods to detect a deletion of the elastin gene in 91% (39/43) of WS patients.


In up to 1% of patients, WS is caused by a gene mutation within or near the elastin gene. These mutations would not be detected by this FISH test. FISH testing involves a DNA probe that detects only large deletions including this entire gene and the DNA probe, small deletions or mutations may give normal results by FISH.


Patients with a deletion outside of the elastin gene could display normal development of connective tissue, including the heart, but have other features of WS.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

The use of high-resolution chromosome studies and FISH for Williams syndrome chromosome region should diagnose about 96% of Williams syndrome patients and, at the same time, identify any other chromosome anomalies.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Because this FISH test is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration it is important to confirm Williams syndrome (WS) by other established methods, such as clinical history or physical evaluation.


Chromosomal microarray (CMACB / Chromosomal Microarray, Congenital, Blood or CMAP / Chromosomal Microarray, Prenatal) may be the more appropriate test to detect unbalanced translocations, deletions or duplications.


Interfering factors:

-Cell lysis caused by forcing the blood quickly through the needle

-Use of an improper anticoagulant or improperly mixing the blood with the anticoagulant

-Excessive transport time

-Inadequate amount of specimen may not permit adequate analysis

-Improper packaging may result in broken, leaky, and contaminated specimen during transport.

-Exposure of the specimen to temperature extremes (freezing or >30 degrees C) may kill cells and interfere with attempts to culture cells.

-In prenatal specimens, a bloody specimen may interfere with attempts to culture cells and contamination by maternal cells may cause interpretive problems

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Morris CA: Williams Syndrome. In GeneReviews, Accessed 05/22/2013. Available at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1249/

2. American Academy of Pediatrics: Health care supervision for children with Williams syndrome. Pediatrics 2001;107:1192-204

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test