X-linked myotubular myopathy is a rare severe muscle disorder in affected male neonates. Most female carriers are free from symptoms. Skewed X inactivation has been proposed to be responsible for the affected phenotype seen in some carriers. We have compared the X inactivation patterns in blood DNA with the clinical phenotype in carriers of X-linked myotubular myopathy. The X-inactivation analysis was performed using HpaII predigestion of DNA followed by polymerase chain reaction of the highly polymorphic CAG repeat of the androgen receptor (AR) gene. The frequency of skewed X inactivation was similar in the X-linked myotubular myopathy carriers (22%) and in 235 controls (18%). Three overtly affected carriers had skewed X inactivation with the mutated X as the predominantly active X in at least two of them. Four females with mild symptoms had random X inactivation. The unaffected X-linked myotubular myopathy carriers had either skewed X inactivation in favour of expression from the normal X or random X-inactivation. Thus, there was a tendency for females with a more severe phenotype to have a skewed pattern of X inactivation, while females with an intermediate phenotype had a random pattern of X-inactivation.