The use of electrotransfer for DNA delivery to prokaryotic cells, and eukaryotic cells in vitro, has been well known and widely used for many years. However, it is only recently that electric fields have been used to enhance DNA transfer to animal cells in vivo, and this is known as DNA electrotransfer or in vivo DNA electroporation. Some of the advantages of this method of somatic cell gene transfer are that it is a simple method that can be used to transfer almost any DNA construct to animal cells and tissues in vivo; multiple constructs can be co-transfected; it is equally applicable to dividing and nondividing cells; the DNA of interest does not need to be subeloned into a specific viral transfer vector and there is no need for the production of high titre viral stocks; and, as no viral genes are expressed there is less chance of an adverse immunologic reaction to vector sequences. The ease with which efficient in vivo gene transfer can be achieved with in vivo DNA electrotransfer is now allowing genetic analysis to be applied to a number of classic animal model systems where transgenic and embryonic stem cell techniques are not well developed, but for which a wealth of detailed descriptive embryological information is available, or surgical manipulation is much more feasible. As well as exciting applications in developmental biology, in vivo DNA electrotransfer is also being used to transfer genes to skeletal muscle and drive expression of therapeutically active proteins, and to examine exogenous gene and protein function in normal adult cells situated within the complex environment of a tissue and organ system in vivo. Thus, in effect providing the in vivo equivalent of the in vitro transient transfection assay. As the widespread use of in vivo electroporation has really only just begun, it is likely that the future will hold many more applications for this technology in basic research, biotechnology and clinical research areas.