X linked hypophosphataemia (XLH) results from an abnormality of renal tubular phosphate reabsorption. The disorder is inherited as an X linked dominant trait and the gene has been mapped to Xp22.1-p22.2. A candidate gene (PEX) has recently been isolated. The most striking clinical features are growth retardation and skeletal abnormalities. As expected for X linked dominant disorders, females are less affected. However, such a gene dosage effect does not exist for renal phosphate reabsorption. Preferential X chromosome inactivation has been proposed as a possible explanation for this lack of gene dosage. We have examined the X inactivation pattern in peripheral blood cells from 12 females belonging to seven families with XLH using PCR analysis at the androgen receptor locus. The X inactivation pattern in these patients did not differ significantly from the pattern in 30 healthy females. The X inactivation pattern in peripheral blood cells does not necessarily reflect the X inactivation pattern in renal cells. However, the finding of a normal distribution of X inactivation in peripheral blood cells indicates that the similarity in the renal handling of phosphate in male and female patients is not related to a ubiquitous preferential X inactivation.