Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” and “How many people are affected?” is available in the Condition Information section. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are specific to a certain topic are answered in this section.
Several other disorders and conditions are associated with PWS:
Until recently, experts believed that people with PWS were infertile. However, because several pregnancies have occurred in women with PWS, birth control should be considered.1
PWS could affect the offspring of someone with the syndrome, depending on how the individual developed the disorder and the individual's sex. The offspring could be at risk of being born with PWS or with Angelman syndrome. Angelman syndrome, like PWS, results from defects in one region of chromosome 15. The two syndromes both involve missing or silenced genes in this region, called the Prader-Willi critical region (PWCR). This section of the chromosome is "imprinted," and the genes involved in Angelman syndrome and PWS have different sex-specific imprinting patterns. This is the reason why the sex of the parent with PWS affects which disorder the offspring is at risk to inherit.
Read more about the imprinting, the PWCR, and the genetics of PWS.
Because fertility is so rare in individuals with PWS, only one case of a mother with a deletion passing on Angelman syndrome to her child has been reported. No cases have been reported of a father who had PWS because of a deletion passing on PWS to his child, but it is possible.2
No case of either syndrome in the child of an individual with PWS through uniparental disomy (two copies of chromosome 15 from the mother and none from the father) has ever been reported, but they are theoretically possible. Inheritance could happen in three different ways, but all require the parent with PWS passing on both copies of his or her chromosome 15, which is unlikely.
No cases have been reported of a parent who has PWS because of an imprinting center defect passing on PWS to his/her child. However, there is a theoretical possibility of this happening.2
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