The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening of microdeletions of the Y chromosome has become an important diagnostic step in the work-up of male infertility. However, there is no agreement about how this diagnosis should be performed. There are suggestions that the large variation in deletion frequency reported in the literature could be due to the various selection criteria of the patients analysed, although methodological aspects may play a role as well. As for other genetic diseases, molecular diagnosis of Y chromosome microdeletions should be controlled by adopting strict internal quality control measures and by participating in external quality assessment schemes. Such an external quality assessment project is presently being organized jointly by the European Academy of Andrology and the European Molecular Genetics Quality Network. Three preliminary trials have given a state-of-the-art picture of the diagnostic performance in various European laboratories, showing an overall rate of misdiagnosis of ~5% for both AZF b and AZF c regions, and providing data useful in the generation of guidelines for the molecular diagnosis of Y chromosome microdeletions.
Copyright (C) 2001, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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