A 4-year-old girl was identified with high creatine kinase (CK) values, and mild muscle weakness in a limb-girdle distribution. Results of dystrophin analysis of the muscle biopsy were consistent with a manifesting heterozygote for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In peripheral lymphocytes she had a t(X;12) (p21.2;q24.33). Late DNA replication studies demonstrated inactivation of the normal X chromosome in 99.4% of cells. Dystrophin immunofluorescence showed 64% dystrophin-negative muscle fibers. Dystrophin content of muscle by immunoblot was approximately 5% of normal. The discordance between the percent of normal X inactivation and percent of dystrophin-negative cells may be explained by compensatory protection of dystrophin by rare nuclei with the normal X active in multi-nucleated muscle fibers with shared cytoplasm.