In a large family with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa 2 (XLRP2), we reexamined 7 obligate carrier females and 6 daughters of obligate carriers, whose linkage relationships suggested that they carried the XLRP2 gene. The phenotype varied from totally normal eyes through mild retinal changes to complete loss of vision. The X-inactivation analysis was carried out with the highly informative probe M27 beta on DNA from blood lymphocytes. This probe detects a locus DXS255 that is differentially methylated on the active and inactive X chromosomes. In 5 blind heterozygotes (aged 43 to 68 years), we found that the X chromosome carrying the RP2 gene was methylated and active in nearly all their cells. The opposite X inactivation pattern was found in a carrier female (aged 45 years) who gave normal findings on eye examination. Carriers with less skewed X inactivation had a less severe clinical outcome. However, we found little or no correlation between their phenotypes and the methylation status of their X chromosomes. Our results suggest that it may be possible to develop a predictive test that could identify cases with severe outcome and perhaps cases with normal outcome.