The pattern of X inactivation in lymphocyte DNA was investigated in 107 Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) carriers (102 asymptomatic and 5 manifesting carriers) and 117 normal female controls of different ages, with the aim: a) to analyze the pattern of X inactivation in blood DNA of a large number of DMD/BMD carriers as compared to normal female controls; b) to determine if there is a decrease in serum creatine kinase (CK) levels with age in obligate DMD/BMD carriers; c) to determine if there is a correlation between X-chromosome inactivation and serum CK among asymptomatic DMD/BMD carriers of different ages or with different clinical manifestations in symptomatic carriers. A high proportion of females showed extremely skewed X inactivation (>90% of one X preferentially inactivated), which was almost the same among carriers and normal controls (19 and 24%, respectively). The mean serum CK was significantly greater among young (<20 years old) than adult (>20 years old) DMD/BMD carriers and it decreased significantly until age 20 with an apparent stabilization afterwards. No statistically significant correlation was found between the proportion of active X(DMD) in blood and serum CK activity in DMD/BMD carriers although it was higher among those less than 20 years old. Our observations suggest that highly skewed X-chromosome pattern in blood (with preferential inactivation of the X(N) chromosome) is not enough to predict that a young DMD carrier will develop muscular weakness.