A probe for the 5' end of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene was used to study expression of the gene in normal human muscle, myogenic cell cultures, and muscle from patients with DMD. Expression was found in RNA from normal fetal muscle, adult cardiac and skeletal muscle, and cultured muscle after myoblast fusion. In DMD muscle, expression of this portion of the gene was also revealed by in situ RNA hybridization, particularly in regenerating muscle fibers.