EIEE1 is inherited in an . The ARX gene is located on the X chromosome, which is one of the two . In males (who have only one X chromosome), one altered copy of the gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the condition. In females (who have two X chromosomes), a mutation would usually have to occur in both copies of the gene to cause the disorder. However, in some instances, one altered copy of the ARX gene is sufficient because the X chromosome with the normal copy of the ARX gene is turned off through a process called . Early in embryonic development in females, one of the two X chromosomes is permanently inactivated in somatic cells (cells other than egg and sperm cells). X-inactivation ensures that females, like males, have only one active copy of the X chromosome in each body cell.
Usually X-inactivation occurs randomly, such that each X chromosome is active in about half of the body cells. Sometimes X-inactivation is not random, and one X chromosome is active in more than half of cells. When X-inactivation does not occur randomly, it is called skewed X-inactivation. Some ARX gene mutations may be associated with skewed X-inactivation, which results in the inactivation of the X chromosome with the normal copy of the ARX gene in most cells of the body. This skewed X-inactivation causes the chromosome with the mutated ARX gene to be expressed in more than half of cells, causing EIEE1.
A characteristic of X-linked inheritance is that fathers cannot pass X-linked traits to their sons.