Myotonic dystrophy is an inherited disease where a change, called a mutation, has occurred in a gene required for normal muscle function. The mutation prevents the gene from carrying out its function properly. The change is an autosomal dominant mutation, which means one copy of the altered gene is sufficient to cause the disorder. As a result, affected individuals have a 50% chance of passing on the mutated gene to their children. A child is equally likely to have inherited the mutated gene from either parent. If both parents do not have the disease, their children cannot inherit it. Children with congenital myotonic dystrophy almost always inherit the disease from an affected mother.