A basic problem in genetic counseling of families with Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD/BMD) concerns the carrier status of female relatives of an affected male. In about 60% of these patients, deletions of one or more exons of the dystrophin gene can be identified. These deletions preferentially include exon 45, which can be detected by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern blot analysis of genomic cosmid clones that map to this critical region. As a new approach for definitive carrier detection, we have performed chromosomal in situ suppression (CISS) hybridization with these cosmid clones in female relatives of four unrelated patients. In normal females, most metaphases showed signals on both X chromosomes, whereas only one X chromosome was labeled in carriers. Our results demonstrate that CISS hybridization can define the carrier status in female relatives of DMD patients exhibiting a deletion in the dystrophin gene.