Determination of serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) activity is often used in efforts to detect carriers of X-linked muscular dystrophies. We have recently demonstrated that another serum enzyme, pyruvate-kinase (PK) may also be of use in the diagnosis of patients affected with a variety of neuromuscular disorders. To evaluate the usefulness of this assay for carrier detection, a comparative study of serum PK and CPK activity was performed in 74 female relatives of patients affected with Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD) muscular dystrophies. For obligate carriers of the DMD gene, 10 of 14 had elevated CPK's, 11 of 14 had elevated PK's and 12 of 14 had abnormal results for either of the two enzymes. Three of 16 mothers of isolated cases had increased serum CPK activity and 6 of 16 had increased PK activity (7 had elevation of at least one enzyme). These preliminary data suggest that the use of PK may enhance the capability to discriminate carriers for these X-linked recessive genes.