Gene transfer of human primary myoblasts with various non-viral methods has been hampered by low yield of transfection. We report here an efficient, simple and reproducible non-viral DNA-mediated gene transfer procedure for transfecting human myoblasts. We found that electroporation promotes a highly efficient DNA uptake by human primary cultures of myogenic cells. Under optimal conditions, 60-70% of human myoblasts transfected with the enhanced green fluorescent gene expressed the enhanced green fluorescent protein. Electroporated myoblasts behaved normally as judged by their ability to synthesize and express developmentally regulated proteins and to undergo terminal differentiation, i.e. to fuse and form myotubes. We showed, in addition, that a subpopulation of cultured human myoblasts with self-renewing properties and equivalent to native muscle satellite cells were as efficiently transfected by electroporation as proliferating myoblasts. Thus, the development of gene therapies based on the engineering and transplantation of human myoblasts may greatly benefit from gene transfer by electroporation.