The inheritance pattern of subcortical band heterotopia depends on its genetic cause.
When subcortical band heterotopia is caused by mutations in the DCX gene, it is inherited in an X-linked pattern. The DCX gene is located on the X chromosome, which is one of the two sex chromosomes. In females, who have two copies of the X chromosome, one altered copy of the gene in each cell can lead to the condition, sometimes with less severe symptoms than affected males. In males, who have only one X chromosome, a mutation in the only copy of the gene in each cell usually causes a more severe condition called isolated lissencephaly sequence (ILS). Most males with subcortical band heterotopia have a DCX gene mutation that is not inherited and is present in only some of the body’s cells, a situation known as mosaicism. A characteristic of X-linked inheritance is that fathers cannot pass X-linked traits to their sons.
When subcortical band heterotopia is caused by a PAFAH1B1 gene mutation, it is generally not inherited but arises from a mutation in the body’s cells that occurs after conception, which leads to mosaicism. This alteration is called a somatic mutation. PAFAH1B1 gene mutations that occur in all of the body’s cells (germline mutations) usually cause ILS.