As of 2007, dystrophin is the longest gene known, covering 2.4 megabases (0.08% of the human genome) at locus Xp21. The primary transcript measures about 2,400 kilobases and takes 16 hours to transcribe, the mature mRNA measures 14.0 kilobases. The 79 exons code for a protein of over 3500 amino acid residues.
Normal tissue contains small amounts of dystrophin (about 0.002% of total muscle protein), but its absence leads to both DMD and fibrosis, a condition of muscle hardening. A different mutation of the same gene causes defective dystrophin, leading to Becker's muscular dystrophy (BMD).
Though its role in airway smooth muscle is not well established recent research indicates that dystrophin along with other subunits of dystrophin glycoprotein complex is associated with phenotype maturation.