Renal abnormalities are some of the commonest and most easily detectable anomalies on ultrasound. Many are an isolated finding but the prognosis may be altered considerably by the detection of other anomalies which could indicate a genetic disorder or syndrome. It is often easier to detect presupposed anomalies and the purpose of this article is to introduce and discuss those syndromes that may present with a renal abnormality on ultrasound. Common renal findings are presented with the range of additional anomalies that should be sought and suggested diagnostic tests. It should be remembered that although for many genetic conditions specific mutation analysis is now available, this usually requires pre‒pregnancy investigations. Furthermore, in some cases the definitive diagnosis may not be suspected until post mortem. By this time it may be too late to establish a cell line to confirm the suspicion using laboratory methods. It is therefore important to take tissue samples antenatally where possible, or at delivery, as postnatal samples may have a high culture failure rate. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.