X-linked intellectual disability: Phenotypic expression in carrier females

Catherine A. Ziats, Charles E. Schwartz, Jozef Gecz, Marie Shaw, Michael J. Field, Roger E. Stevenson, Giovanni Neri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


To better understand the landscape of female phenotypic expression in X-linked intellectual disability (XLID), we surveyed the literature for female carriers of XLID gene alterations (n = 1098) and combined this with experience evaluating XLID kindreds at the Greenwood Genetic Center (n = 341) and at the University of Adelaide (n = 157). One-hundred forty-four XLID genes were grouped into nine categories based on the level of female phenotypic expression, ranging from no expression to female only expression. For each gene, the clinical presentation, gene expression in blood, X-inactivation (XI) pattern, biological pathway involved, and whether the gene escapes XI were noted. Among the XLID conditions, 88 (61.1%) exhibited female cognitive phenotypic expression only, while 56 (38.9%) had no female phenotypic expression (n = 45), phenotype expression with normal cognition in females (n = 8), or unknown status for female phenotypic expression (n = 3). In twenty-four (16.6%) XLID genes, XI was consistently skewed in female carriers, in 54 (37.5%) XI showed variable skewing, and in 33 (22.9%) XI was consistently random. The XI pattern was unknown in 33 (22.9%) XLID conditions. Therefore, there is evidence of a female carrier phenotype in the majority of XLID conditions although how exactly XI patterns influence the female phenotype in XLID conditions remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-425
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • X-inactivation
  • X-linkage
  • female carriers
  • intellectual disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Ziats, C. A., Schwartz, C. E., Gecz, J., Shaw, M., Field, M. J., Stevenson, R. E., & Neri, G. (2020). X-linked intellectual disability: Phenotypic expression in carrier females. Clinical Genetics, 97(3), 418-425. https://doi.org/10.1111/cge.13667