Laboratory testing for fragile X, 2021 revision: a technical standard of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG)

Molecular genetic testing of the FMR1 gene is commonly performed in clinical laboratories. Pathogenic variants in the FMR1 gene are associated with fragile X syndrome, fragile X–associated tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), and fragile X–associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI). This document provides updated information regarding FMR1 pathogenic variants, including prevalence, genotype–phenotype correlations, and variant nomenclature. Methodological considerations are provided for Southern blot analysis and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of FMR1, including triplet repeat–primed and methylation-specific PCR.

The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) Laboratory Quality Assurance Committee has the mission of maintaining high technical standards for the performance and interpretation of genetic tests. In part, this is accomplished by the publication of the document ACMG Technical Standards for Clinical Genetics Laboratories, which is now maintained online ( This subcommittee also reviews the outcome of national proficiency testing in the genetics area and may choose to focus on specific diseases or methodologies in response to those results. Accordingly, the subcommittee selected Fragile X syndrome to be the first topic in a series of supplemental sections, recognizing that it is one of the most frequently ordered genetic tests and that it has many alternative methods with different strengths and weaknesses. This document is the fourth update to the original standards and guidelines for fragile X testing that were published in 2001, with revisions in 2005 and 2013, respectively.

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